Titan profits dive as cement demand crumbles

Titan, Greece’s biggest cement producer, posted an 89 percent drop in 2011 net profit on Thursday and forecast further declines this year after the collapse of the building industry in its recession-hit home market.

The company, which recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary, said it will not distribute a dividend for the first time in 58 years.

Titan has been hit hard by a plunge in private housing investment and drastic cutbacks in public spending on infrastructure in Greece, which is stuck in its fifth year of recession.

The group said net profit fell to 11 million euros in 2011 from 103 million a year ago and said conditions at home were not expected to improve this year.

“In Greece, there is no visibility at this time on either a reversal of the downward trend in private construction or the much anticipated restarting of infrastructure works,» it said in a statement.

“Demand for the group’s products will record a further considerable decline in 2012.”

The company has been counting on growth in new markets such as north Africa and Turkey to offset building slumps in Greece and the United States and difficult conditions in Egypt, where it also has operations.

But political unrest in Libya, where Titan runs two cement plans, halted exports to the region.

Group sales declined by 19 percent year-on-year to 1.1 billion euros. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 23 percent to 243 million euros.

Titan has embarked on a two-year restructuring plan, which is expected to cut costs by 26 million euros annually.

The impact of the restructuring and a 19-million euro asset impairment charge hurt fourth quarter performance. In the last quarter of 2011, Titan had a net loss of 42 million euros versus a net profit of 5 million in the same period in 2010.


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