ECONOMY

Demand for construction material slows

Lower demand for building materials in Greece and the United States weighed on 2008 earnings figures for cement maker Titan, which yesterday reported a 13 percent drop in net profits to 208 million euros. The housing crisis in the USA, which accounts for about one-third of Titan’s total sales, and a double-digit percentage drop in Greek building activity last year is hurting sales. Titan plans to cut costs and reduce debt to brace for a further decline in US and Greek cement demand this year. ‘Our priorities for 2009 focus on generating free cash flows for the reduction of debt, on cutting costs and general and administrative expenses,’ it said. Apart from Greece and the USA, Titan also has operations in Egypt, Bulgaria and Serbia.