Greek cement producer Titan widens losses


Updated Tue, 08 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT

Titan, Greece's biggest cement producer, reported a widening quarterly loss on Thursday after construction activity collapsed in the wake of the country's debt crisis.

Net loss for the first quarter stood at 19.4 million euros from 4.3 million euros in the same period last year. Titan has been hit hard by a plunge in private housing investment and drastic cutbacks in public spending on infrastructure in Greece.

Greek building volume contracted for a sixth consecutive year in 2011, shrinking to just a fifth of its size in 2005, the sector's last year of expansion.

"In Greece, the uncertainty associated with the ongoing crisis and the worsening economic recession, form a particularly challenging backdrop for private building activity ," Titan said in a statement.

The firm said it would continue cutting its operating costs and that it expected annual savings of 26 million euros from a restructuring plan it launched last year.

Titan, which earlier this year scrapped its dividend for the first time in 58 years, has been counting on growth in new markets such as north Africa and Turkey to offset the building slump in Greece.

But political crisis in Egypt has hurt its prospects there.

Titan's group sales declined by 11 percent year-on-year to 225.4 million euros. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 29 percent to 34 million euros.