Titan posted a net loss of nearly $13 million on net sales of $307.3 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016. That compares to a loss of $51.1 million on income of $307.8 million for the same period in 2015.

The company's operating loss for the quarter was $9.1 million compared to $18.1 in 4Q '15.

For fiscal 2016, Titan recorded a net loss of nearly $34 million on net sales of more than $1.2 billion. That compares to a loss of $75.6 million on sales of $1.4 billion for fiscal 2015. The $21.3 million operating loss was less than the previous year's loss of $24.2 million.

"Although sales have continued to decline from our peak of $2.2 billion in 2013 to the current level of approximately $1.3 billion, we continue to be encouraged by the operating progress we have made," says Paul Reitz, Titan CEO and president. "Fourth-quarter 2016 sales of $307.3 million were actually higher than third quarter sales and relatively flat as compared to the $307.8 million in fourth quarter 2015. Despite similar sales levels in the fourth quarter relative to the fourth quarter of 2015, we increased gross profit by nearly $15 million and improved our gross margin percentage by almost 83% to 10.6%.

"The collective bargaining agreements with three separate United Steel Workers (USW) locals have expired. Union employees at the impacted facilities have been working without an agreement while Titan and the USW continue negotiations toward a new contract.

"We understand that, at the beginning of 2016, there were concerns regarding Titan's liquidity," says Reitz. "With our 2016 operating performance, as well as the recent convertible debt conversion and maturity, we believe that much of that concern has been addressed. Notwithstanding the improvement in our numbers, we realize we have more to do."

Here is what Chairman Maurice "Morry" Tayor had to say about why he is optimistic about the Titan's fortunes.

"Titan has a new management team, headed by President and CEO Paul Reitz, which understands what needs to be done to continue our improvements, and we are moving ahead to make this happen.

"At the beginning of 2016, our management team discussed with the board of directors certain assets that Titan could consider for potential sale. These assets included our facility in Brownsville, Texas, our recently established business involving Titan Tire Reclamation Corp. (TTRC) in the oil sands, and our Italtractor ITM SpA (ITM) undercarriage business, initially considered in connection with an unsolicited inquiry from a potential purchaser. At that time, Titan's management believed we could receive more than an aggregate of $250 million for these assets.

"The appraisal for the Brownsville facility came in at the value expected, and the 750,000 square feet of the facility under lease to third parties is generating approximately $2 million annually in rental revenue. TTRC is progressing in the oil sands and we expect that TTRC's operations will add to both our sales and bottom line.

"As previously announced, a special committee of Titan's board of directors (Special Committee), formed for the purpose of evaluating a potential sale of ITM, engaged Goldman Sachs to serve as a financial advisor in connection with a potential sale of our ITM business. Goldman Sachs contacted potential buyers and Titan received seven formal bids from these potential buyers. The formal bids were within the range previously guided of more than 100 million euro.

"Meanwhile, as the sales process continued during 2016, ITM grew its revenue and EBITDA, as compared to 2015, while facing a down market and pressure on the euro. These improving fundamentals within ITM's business, as well as the board of directors' confidence in the ongoing business model, has resulted in our decision to end the formal sales process for ITM. The Special Committee, with the recommendation of Goldman Sachs, determined that selling ITM was not in the best interest of Titan and its shareholders at this time. However, Titan will continue to evaluate other possible strategic alternatives relating to ITM that would be beneficial to Titan's shareholders.

"Also, as previously announced, in January 2017, holders of a substantial majority of Titan's 5.625% convertible senior subordinated notes converted their notes into Titan stock, with more than $58 million moving from debt to equity on our balance sheet.

"In connection with our 2016 third quarter earnings release, I stated that I thought we had reached the bottom on revenue. I continue to believe this is correct and that 2017 will demonstrate this. We believe that there are many opportunities ahead and our team is excited about what Titan has in front of us this next year.  I'm personally excited about the next few years, because we have gone through very tough times over the last four years and we believe we are stronger as a result. As you know, I enjoy visiting our customers and am encouraged by what I am hearing from them concerning our products, especially the LSW line.

"Titan has stated previously that the LSW tire and wheel volume is growing. During the farm shows this winter, our entire sales team has experienced the overwhelming interest from farmers coming into the Titan booth and asking where they can buy LSW assemblies for their equipment.

"I believe in 2017, Titan will accelerate the positive growth for LSW tires and wheels now that farmers are more aware of the increase in their yield per acre as a result of less soil compaction from LSW tires. I believe this will not only be meaningful in the United States, but in South America as well. Titan's facility in São Paulo, Brazil, is scheduled to begin production of both LSW tires and wheels during the third quarter of 2017.

"Titan will invest resources in both South America and Russia promoting Titan's LSW products within these growing markets. I anticipate that Brazil's ag economy could be up 15-20% during 2017, which should be great for LSW tires and wheels. In addition, Titan is focused on the expansion of our LSW products within the earthmoving/construction segment, which will have a positive impact for Titan. With all these positives around LSW, I feel very confident that Titan will grow better than ever."

Titan's board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $.005 (one half cent) per common share for the first quarter of 2017. The cash dividend is payable Friday, April 14, 2017, to stockholders of record on Friday, March 31, 2017.

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