QUINCY, Ill.— Titan International Inc. suffered double-digit drops in earnings in the quarter that ended March 31 on 6.8 percent lower sales, prompting management to put its workforce on notice that it will be “adjusting employment levels” in the second quarter.
The sluggish first quarter performance and uncertain market conditions for the rest of the year prompted management to “rescind” the firm's fiscal 2014 targets issued last November.
Titan CEO and Chairman Maurice Taylor Jr. cited the negative effects of the harsh, prolonged winter in North America along with declining farm and construction business and a “nonexistent” mining business as reasons for the lackluster performance.
Titan reported income from operations of $300,000 for the quarter, down from $47.9 million a year ago, while net income plunged 88.7 percent to $2.2 million. Sales fell to $538.9 million, impacted significantly by reduced demand for mining products and currency exchange issues.
“We need to reduce our expenses and work harder during the rest of the year,” Taylor said, referencing the need for employment adjustments.
“Titan does have a lot of good things going forward,” he added. “Our new tires and wheels are taking hold and the LSW (low sidewall) tires and wheels are performing great out in the market. We have begun an aggressive campaign for the LSW concept, which we expect to improve Titan's agriculture and construction wheels and tires business.”
Taylor noted market conditions improved in March—but not enough to offset the severe declines during January and February. In particular, he said, agriculture and construction seem to be improving slightly, but a recovery in the mining sector “looks like a long haul.”