QUINCY, Ill. (April 29)—Tire and wheel maker Titan International Inc. reported a net profit of $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2004, its highest quarterly operating income since 1998, the company announced April 29.
Titan's earnings figure compared favorably with the net loss of $5.9 million posted in the first quarter of 2003. The firm's operating income was $11.8 million, up from a $1.7 million loss last year, and the most reported by Titan since the second quarter of 1998.
The company had net sales of $167 million for the quarter, a 29.4-percent surge over the like period of 2003. Beginning in the second quarter, the operating results of Titan Europe P.L.C. won't be consolidated with those of Titan International. The former Titan subsidiary was admitted to trading as a separate public company on London's AIM market on April 7.
Manufacturing efficiencies resulting from facility consolidations in 2003, the strengthening of the agricultural and light construction markets, and the weak U.S. dollar compared to currencies in the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan contributed to the improved financial performance, Titan said.
"We expect demand to continue near this level through the second quarter, followed by third and fourth quarter sales much stronger than is seasonally customary in the agricultural, construction and consumer markets," said Maurice Taylor Jr., Titan CEO and president. "The efficiencies implemented by Titan during the past few years have better positioned the company to maximize returns from operations in the future."
Titan hasn't reported an annual profit since 2000, when it posted net earnings of $4.5 million.