QUINCY, Ill. (May 8, 2008) — Tire and wheel manufacturer Titan International Inc. set a first-quarter sales record in the first three months of 2008, successfully following up on all-time highs posted in fourth-quarter and year-long revenues in 2007.
The company reported net sales of $253.5 million in the quarter, up about 12 percent from the year before. Titan posted record sales of $204.9 million in the preceding fourth quarter, and $837 million for fiscal 2007.
The firm also had net earnings of $8.13 million in the first quarter, a big improvement over the $2.48 million net loss from the like period of 2007.
Titan's growth was spurred by “huge demand” in the agricultural market, according to Maurice Taylor Jr., the company's chairman and CEO. Increases in grain-based ethanol and soybean-based biofuel have pushed up commodity prices throughout the market, he said.
Sales in Titan's agricultural market segment were $173.5 million for the first quarter, up 28.2 percent from the like period of 2007. The totals include tire and wheel sales.
The company also inked a three-year agreement last month to supply farm tires to various John Deere affiliates, a deal that could exceed $100 million in value the first year, Taylor said.
“This upward trend should continue and contribute to our growth and result in one of Titan's best years yet,” he said.
The company—which in addition to the farm market supplies tires and wheels to the construction, earthmoving and consumer sectors—produced its first 63-inch giant off-the-road radial tire in February, according to Taylor. Testing began on the tire at its OTR tire plant in Bryan, Ohio, in mid-April, using Titan's new 24-foot bull wheel, he said.
Capital expenditures for the first quarter totaled about $20.9 million—about $16 million related to the giant OTR tire project, the company said.
The Quincy-based firm is on schedule to start up production of giant tires by July, and the manufacturing of the tires will increase as equipment is brought online, Taylor said.
“With the new capacity to produce giant OTR tires and the continued demand in ag, Titan's sales should remain strong,” he said.