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Titan absorbed sales decline, net loss in '09

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Titan International posted sales of $727.6 million on a net loss of $24.6 million during 2009 vs. sales of $1 billion on net income of $13.3 million during 2008.

For the fourth quarter of 2009, Titan posted sales of $146.5 million vs. sales of $258.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Titan Chairman and CEO Morry Taylor describes 2009 as "an interesting year. The year started fairly well with large farm running strong, but as the year moved on, construction was dead and mining used up a lot of its wheel and tire inventory.

"The operation numbers for the second half of the year were disappointing. There is no question that large tire factories need much more flexibility, and this will be addressed in November 2010 with our union workforce. I am happy to see 2009 come to a close. There is no question that, in my mind, 2010 will be a better year," for the following reasons, says Taylor:

* "Large farm tires and wheels still have fair sales volume. They are not 2008 crazy, but they are good."

* "Construction tires should be up because there is no inventory. That is good news because this industry was down 85% in 2009. I think it will be down 65% from 2007, but up from last year."

* "Mining is running good. There is no shortage of tires, but the market is good and pricing is fair. Titan has increased its product offering and is coming out with a new line of radial loader tires that we feel will help every mining company lower their cost."

Taylor adds that Titan has been in discussions "with various competitors and these discussions will continue, but we will only finalize any transaction if it makes sense business-wise and financially. In short, we are not going to roll the dice."


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