Titan International, Inc. has reduced its shareholding in steel wheel manufacturer Wheels India Limited. It sold, via a wholly-owned subsidiary, a 10.4 per cent stake in Wheels India on 3 October, thereby dropping its share in the company from 34.2 to 23.8 per cent. Titan International intends to use the net proceeds of approximately US$19 million received from the transaction to pay down outstanding indebtedness.
At a meeting on 5 December, the Board of Directors at Titan International, Inc. agreed to increase in size from seven to eight directors in accordance with company by-laws, and appointed Paul G. Reitz its eighth member. Titan International states that the company president and chief executive officer was appointed to the board “due in large part to his vision and leadership along with his background and knowledge of the business.”
Titan International has commented on the final results of the US Department of Commerce’s (DOC) review of imported OTR tyres from China in 2014 and 2015, which show the Chinese government increased the level of subsidies it gave tyre makers, enabling their products to continue selling in the US market at what the tyre maker calls a less than fair value.
Titan International reports that its board recently became a Full Board Member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), a non-profit membership organisation for corporate board members,
Titan International’s final injury hearing before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) took place on 4 January, and today the company will file a post hearing brief. The off-road tyre specialist says it “remains optimistic” that the ITC will issue a final affirmative determination in these cases.
The Board of Directors of Titan International, Inc. has approved the transition of James M. Froisland from his position as interim chief financial officer to that of chief financial officer, effective 5 December 2016. Froisland was appointed to the role on an interim basis in May 2016.
Titan International’s Low SideWall, or LSW tyres have been sold to the UK construction sector for the past year, however they are also gaining acceptance amongst agricultural users over in the USA and are prized by many for their reduced soil compaction characteristics, as well as the reduction in road lope and power hop they bring. The Titan LSW agricultural tyres are sold under the Goodyear brand name.
The decline in the market for high horsepower tractors and combines in North America continues, and this ongoing trend has left a sizable dent in Titan International’s second quarter revenues. Sales for the three months to 30 June 2016 amounted to US$330.2 million, 12.2 per cent below sales for the previous year’s corresponding quarter and 44.3 per cent less than sales in the second quarter of 2013, prior to the start of the downturn. Gross profit for the quarter amounted to $45.1 million, 13.7 per cent of net sales, an 11.7 per cent year-on-year reduction and 48.0 per cent below the second quarter 2013 gross profit. The net loss applicable to common shareholders was -$3.8 million, compared with a net income of $9.4 million a year ago and net income of $23.2 million in the corresponding quarter of 2013.
The message to shareholders from Titan International chief executive and chairman Maurice Taylor is not one gladly heard: A 20.0 per cent year-on-year fall in sales during the first quarter of this year has been matched by an 11 per cent decline in sales volumes, a decrease in gross sales and an adjusted net loss of US$9.2 million.
On 29 March, Titan International subsidiary Titan Tire Reclamation Corp. officially opened its oil sands facility in Fort McMurray, Canada. Titan International estimates that the operation, when fully operational, will be able to convert 240,000 pounds (108.9 tonnes) of scrap tyres to approximately 13,600 gallons (61,800 litres) of oil 52,800 pounds (23.9 tonnes) of steel and 76,800 pounds (34.8 tonnes) of carbon black each day.
During a conference call yesterday, Titan International chief financial officer John Hrudicka confirmed that sales of Goodyear agricultural tyres in Europe had commenced, with initial orders being supplied from the US. “The early reception to the re-entry of Goodyear is very encouraging and demonstrates the brand still holds tremendous value in Europe,” he commented.
Titan International has filed petitions with the US International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce for relief from imports of off-road tyres from China, India, and Sri Lanka. The petitions were filed jointly with the United Steelworkers union and allege that imports from China and India are being dumped in the US market in violation of international trade agreements and that imports from all three countries are benefitting from improper government subsidies.
Titan International is considering an expansion of its wheel business in the coming half year. In the company’s second quarter 2015 results announcement, CEO and chairman Maurice Taylor reports that Titan International is “exploring plans to expand our wheel plant in Turkey” and to “establish a new wheel presence in Brazil to accompany our existing tyre business.” Taylor did not furnish any additional details about the two potential projects.
Shareholder approval for Titan International’s reincorporation in the US state of Delaware was given at the company’s annual meeting of stockholders on 4 June, clearing the way for the off-road tyre manufacturer to take advantage of the state’s more flexible tax laws. Stockholders also elected Anthony L. Soave to serve as a company director for a three-year term and voted to ratify Grant Thornton LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2015.