Titan International Inc. has climbed out of a deep pit of financial and emotional misery, and its prospects are much improved. What better time to sell the company.
That's an impression that can be fashioned from comments by Morry Taylor, president and CEO of the maker of tires for the agricultural and construction markets. ``We're almost in too good of a state right now. Someone may want to buy us,'' he said in a recent interview.
Sounds like a back-door way of shopping his company, if it isn't just mere enthusiasm since things finally are going right for Titan.
It took a long time for that to happen. Titan went through financial trauma for six years, thanks largely to the recession and dismal conditions in the ag and construction equipment markets. From 2001-03 the company had annual losses of more than $30 million.
Adding to the effect of negative market conditions were strikes by union members at two Titan plants that lasted three years.
All that-the poor financial conditions and the labor disputes-are behind Titan today. The company's sales are way up, and its profits through September 2004 indicate it won't repeat the full-year loss of $27.4 million of 2003.
Of special interest, and perhaps a reason for Taylor's comment about the attractiveness of the company as an acquisition candidate, Titan's stock price has rebounded dramatically. The manufacturer's share value increased 393.5 percent in 2004, second-highest of all companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Titan reported.
Five years ago Carlisle agreed to buy Titan for $600 million. That deal collapsed, but the will to sell might still exist. Then again, what company isn't for sale for the right price?