Titan’s turnover increased by 5.4% in 2008 to €1,578.5m, helped by acquisitions and broadly unchanged at the underlying level. The weakness in the United States and in Greece was to a large extent offset by improvements in South Eastern Europe and in Egypt, which limited the decline in the EBITDA to 11.2% to €380.0m.
Higher interest charges resulting from acquisitions let to a 30.1% reduction in the pre-tax profit to €210.0m. A lower tax rate was a result of falling US profits, a higher contribution from low tax countries and exceptional credits in Greece and Bulgaria meant that the net attributable profit was just 13.2% lower at €208.2m. Capital expenditure and acquisitions totalled €673m and the net debt at the end of December emerged 95.8% higher at €1,114m to give a gearing level of 79.8%.
Group sales of cementitous materials rose by 10.3% to 17.2m tonnes, but downstream volumes declined, with deliveries of aggregates being some 7% lower at 18.6m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete shipments down by around 8% to 5.4m m³.
Turnover from the activities in Greece and Western Europe edged ahead by 0.3% to €633.0m, helped by an improvement in Greek cement prices in the second half. The EBITDA declined by 12.9% to €168.5m. The Greek domestic cement deliveries declined further after the record volume achieved in 2006 and are expected to drop by around 15% in 2009, largely because of the weak housebuilding market. Exports, other than to the softening markets of England, France and Italy, are mainly to the Albanian subsidiary and third party exports to Africa. Exports to the United States are running at around one third of the level of a year ago. Export prices are presently stable. The use of alternative fuels has again been increased, but remains low at around 5%, the use of extenders, primarily in the form of limestone, has grown to a reasonable share of the market.
The turnover in South Eastern Europe increased by 37.0% to €287.3m on the back of higher volumes in Bulgaria and Serbia, the successful passing on of higher energy costs and the expansion of cement sales in Albania ahead of the opening of the new works there early next year.
In the United States, turnover declined by 18.3% to €483.9m and the EBITDA dropped by 59.8% to €42.8m as demand continued to fall. While cement volumes declined, there was a positive contribution from downstream. There was some deterioration in cement prices during last year, mainly in Florida, but no further deterioration has taken place so far this year.
The Eastern Mediterranean contributed a turnover almost three times higher at €174.2 thanks to the acquisition of Lafarge’s half share of the former Egyptian joint venture and the formation of a Turkish joint venture. The EBITDA just over doubled to €63.6m.