Titan Int'l slumps on 4Q loss and weak sales

Titan Int'l shares fall as slowing Europe construction, US labor problems hurt 4th-qtr results

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Titan International Inc. skidded Tuesday after the wheel and tire supplier's fourth-quarter results disappointed Wall Street.

Titan said it took a loss because of one-time costs related to its purchase of Titan Europe PLC and other items. While its sales grew more than 20 percent, the results fell far short of analyst estimates. The company said its results were hurt by a construction slowdown in Europe, extra costs following an earthquake in Italy, and weak performance from its three U.S. tire plants. It said labor contract issues were partly responsible for the problems at those plants.

Titan shares lost $4.03, or 16.2 percent, to $20.93 in afternoon trading.

The Quincy, Ill., company reported its results after the market closed Monday. Titan lost $3.5 million, or 7 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. A year earlier, the company earned $14.5 million, or 29 cents per share. Titan said it earned a profit of 9 cents per share if one-time items are excluded from the latest quarter. Its revenue climbed 23 percent, to $493.6 million from $402.9 million.

Analysts expect income of 47 cents per share and $560 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Titan said union employees at tire facilities in Bryan, Ohio and Freeport, Ill., have been working without a contract since September. Titan's last labor contract with the employees' union expired in November 2010, but the company and the union have been negotiating and the workers at the plants should vote on a proposed new contract next week.

Italy was hit by two major earthquakes in May, and Titan said the quakes resulted in increased startup costs for a wheel facility in the country.

Titan said its annual net income climbed to $95.6 million, or $1.83 per share, in 2012 from $58.2 million, or $1.18 per share, in 2011. Revenue grew 22 percent, to $1.82 billion from $1.49 billion.

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