Tire and wheel manufacturer Titan International Inc. has six months to get its share price back above $1 before potentially losing its listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The NYSE notified Quincy-based Titan that its common stock fell below the exchange's ``continued listing criteria'' relating to minimum share price, the company announced April 25. The exchange requires a company's common stock trade at a minimum average share price of $1 over a 30-day trading period.
Titan shares had closed below $1 for 61 consecutive trading days from Feb. 3 through April 30, when the stock price closed at 80 cents per share. In the past 12 months, the most recent high-water mark for Titan stock was $5.50 on May 15, 2002, while the price bottomed out at 60 cents per share on Feb. 21. The stock price hasn't been above $10 since October 1999.
Under NYSE guidelines, Titan must return to compliance with the continued listing criteria within six months following receipt of the notification. Maurice Taylor Jr., Titan president and CEO, said he was contacted by the exchange about the situation and he's talked to officials about what the company can do to raise the stock price.
``There's no sense in getting excited,'' Taylor said. ``We have to work to get things right and have six months to do it. Nothing is ironclad at this point.''
Taylor wouldn't detail what Titan's plans are to get a consistent share price greater than $1. But he did say if the company was delisted from the Big Board there are other avenues to take, including other exchanges or potentially going private. Being a listed company on the NYSE gets more expensive every year, with the total cost now approaching $1 million annually, he said.
``Sometimes you have to ask if it's worth it,'' Taylor said. ``No matter how you operate or where you're listed, there's no substitute for making money.''
Titan posted a net loss of $5.9 million on sales of $129 million in the first quarter of 2003, compared to a loss of $2.9 million on sales of $123.7 million in 2002.
The firm also had an operating loss for the quarter of $1.7 million, down from the $1.1 million in operating profits last year.
Higher raw material prices and increased employee benefit and insurance costs hurt the company's first-quarter numbers, Taylor said. Titan plans to help its bottom line in 2003 by cutting manufacturing costs, keeping research and development and capital expenditures down, and increasing product prices, he said.