Three days before it trumpeted the purchase of Goodyear's North American farm tire business, Titan International Inc. unveiled its financial results for 2004, its first profitable fiscal year since 2000.
The Quincy-based tire and wheel maker posted annual net earnings of $11.1 million while sales rose 3.8 percent to $510.6 million. The income figure marked a huge improvement over a $36.7 million loss in 2003.
Using pro-forma figures accounting for the revenues of Titan Europe, which Titan publicly spun off in April, annual net sales increased to $461.1 million from $348 million in 2003.
Titan also reported fourth-quarter sales of $105.9 million, down 12.1 percent. On a pro-forma basis, sales jumped 30 percent in the fourth quarter.
The company's gross profits-taking into account only net sales and cost of sales-surged for both the quarter and year, rising to $13.1 million from $7.94 million in the year's final quarter and to $79.5 million from $29.7 million for the year.
Titan did post a $1.29 million net loss in the final three months of the year, primarily because of a $5.3 million depreciation charge for assets marked for sale at four idled production sites, including two wheel facilities and equipment at tire operations in Natchez, Miss., and Brownsville, Texas. The loss for the quarter was an improvement over the net loss of $9.21 million posted in the like period of 2003.
Titan also paid out about $3 million in bonuses near the end of the quarter, according to Maurice Taylor Jr., the company's president and CEO.
Despite the net loss, Taylor called the final quarter of 2004 ``remarkable'' and praised the Titan team members for their efforts. ``The operating results for the year show Titan's employees worked hard to return the company to profitability when presented with increased demand in the agricultural and construction markets,'' he said.
``Although it's been a bumpy ride, we will not forget to maintain focus on reducing costs and further enhancing efficiencies. Many of our customers are predicting another strong year in 2005.''