Titan International, Inc. (TWI)

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Titan International, Inc. (TWI)

Q4 2008 Earnings Call

February 26, 2009 09:00 AM ET


Maurice M. Taylor Jr. - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Alex Blanton - Ingalls & Snyder

Ian Zaffino - Oppenheimer & Co

Charlie Rentschler - Wall Street Access

Randy Laufman - Imperial Capital

Philip Volpicelli - Goldman Sachs



Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Titan International Incorporated Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings Call. During this session all lines will be muted until the question-and-answer portion of the call. (Operator Instructions).

Any statements made in this course of this conference call that state the company's or management intentions, hopes, believes, expectations or predictions for future are considered forward-looking statements.

Please note that the Safe Harbor statements contained in the company's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission extend to this conference call and any forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties as detailed there in.

At this time I'd now like to turn the conference to Titan's Chairman and CEO Morry Taylor. Please go ahead.

Maurice M. Taylor Jr.

Thanks, Stacy. And good morning to everyone. I want to take a moment, hopefully you all have the press release. I know you don't have the 10-K and I'll cover that why.

We had a great, great '08. Just plain example, fourth quarter was really good and I want to go over that. But the big item in the news of the day is the 38... approximately $38 million charge we took for the investment into Titan Europe and non-cash charge.

Let me explain before I go into everything else what transpired as of this past Monday, our Board's Audit Committee... Board of Directors' Audit Committee had their conversations with PW on everything. And everything was... the question came up in reference to the Europe because of the stock price and everything else.

But their book value is greater and personally Mike Akers has been through rougher times over there. He is the CEO of that business and though weathered the storm, there is no question in my mind and came out stronger. And so the 10-K was prepared, everything was ready, Board, everybody was satisfied and actually pretty impressed by what happened in '08.

Yesterday, we got a call from PW and someone in New York for PW had determined that because of all the things going in New York and everything else, the transparency that it would be prudent if we took this charge plus we've had such a record year.

So that's why it's on there. And I guess if it goes back up I'm not the accountant. I don't know what happens if it all it goes back up and I guess we just had back money, but anyhow.

So let's talk about the situation of performance for what we do. Number one, the quarter was just absolutely great except there was a little minor hiccup that we had in Bryan and even if you have been here we had the... our new 59-inch curing press mold, whether we wish to call it arrived and this was the new design for all the rest of them which was a hydraulic plant had 17 clamps.

And then outside contractor then I think there was a little design problem in the mechanism but what transpired on a Sunday night they attempt to do the first tire and which is a wrong time to do anything but anyhow if you see a 100,000 pounds bowl of steel going through 40 feet in the air it made a big nest.

We jumped on that we got that up but the design change and everything we had to do to all the others that were already made and coming in, may be that's a little bit delay or we would have, I believe set the record for the quarter of all quarters. But needless to say the numbers we didn't get there but we have a great, great year.

And then I appreciate most of you on hearing and also going forward and I would like to take a moment to talk about why it was such a great year and the reason it was such a great year is that every factory that Titan has was involved one way or another into creating this new giant tire which when you look at it, when you have the big dogs the Michelins, the Bridgestones, the Goodyears and everybody else telling you that it can't be done it really made us that much sweeter.

And for the future it's nonetheless for what's going to happen, where we're going to go in the future. We have an unbelievable team, of not only managers but already workers who participated this and I know myself I am very, very grateful to have the ability to work with them.

And the numbers you can, all of you can go through the 10-K will be filed shortly, Mr. Hackamack and his team and we've great team from PW out of St. Louis they spent a whole night trying to redo the, what they thought was already done on Monday. And hopefully they will get this thing done sometime today or next few days and get this off to you. And we will keep you posted on that.

Going forward, is what everybody is concerned about and if you sit there and look at the Big Ag, it's going strong. In fact, last week Deere came out and you can go to Deere's website and get I believe their presentation. There everybody looks and says Ag is at 5% but if you look at what they presented you will see that their real crop tractors, they expect them to be up double digits to four wheel drive. They expect that to be strong double digits and their combines up approximately 13%. And that's from the retail sales that they have in the month of January and they expect it to go.

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