Titan increased turnover by 6.4 per cent to €829.4m in the first nine months of 2004 and the operating profit at the EBITDA level rose by 13.1 per cent to €243.0m. In local currency terms, this represents increases of 10.5 per cent and 16.5 per cent respectively. Shipments of cement and clinker rose by seven per cent to 10.3Mt. Deliveries of ready-mixed concrete were one per cent higher at 3.8Mm3, for aggregates the increase was three per cent at 15.5Mt and shipments of concrete blocks rose by seven per cent.
In Greece, turnover growth showed to 7.4 per cent to €410.4m as domestic cement deliveries were some nine per cent lower in the third quarter, following the end of the works related to the summer’s Olympic Games. The EBITDA grew by 2.9 per cent to €142.4m. Benefits from the modernised cement works in Salonica offset higher kiln fuel and transport costs, but could not fully compensate for the lower volume effect. The reduction in construction activity was largely restricted to the public sector.
The rest of the Balkans saw turnover rise by 27.4 per cent to €94.4m and the EBITDA advanced by 29.3 per cent to €37.5m. The group strengthened its position in the strongly growing Bulgarian market and took majority control of the Macedonian business, both from early May. Underlying cement deliveries in Macedonia were slightly lower, while there was a small improvement in Serbia.
In the United States, turnover rose by 9.4 per cent in local currency terms, but the weakness of the dollar reduced the increase to 0.4 per cent on conversion to €324.6m. The upgraded Pennsuco plant gradually increased production levels during third quarter and two price increases this year in both Florida and the Mid-Atlantic region, with further increases in both regions having been announced for early next year, led to improved margins. The EBITDA rose by 30.5 per cent in local currency and by 19.7 per cent on conversion to €54.2m. But for cement shortages and hurricanes in Florida, the profit improvement would have been stronger still. Titan is commissioning a new import terminal at the Florida port of Tampa during December. The second round of US price increases have held and, according to Titan, prices per short ton are now over US$80 in Florida (compared with US$75 three months ago) and over US$70 in the Mid-Atlantic area (compared with US$68 three months ago). The company said its newly modernized Pennsuco plant in Florida already provides some of the much-needed extra capacity in the state of Florida.
The Egyptian joint venture with Lafarge saw turnover rise by 24.0 per cent to €28.9m and the EBITDA advanced by 64.4 per cent to €14.8m. Price increases in local currency of some 40 per cent have held thanks to the domestic over-capacity being shipped into export markets. Higher exports enabled the joint venture to maintain volumes in spite of domestic deliveries being seven per cent lower. Domestic prices are now reported as being in excess of US$40 per tonnes, compared with last’s year’s nadir of US$17.