Greece: Titan Cement has reported a widening quarterly loss after construction activity collapsed in the wake of the Greek debt crisis.
Titan's net loss for the first quarter of 2012 stood at Euro19.4m from Euro4.3m in the same period of 2011. 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 Euro26m from a restructuring plan it launched in 2011.
Titan, which earlier in 2012 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. Yet, political crisis in Egypt has hurt its prospects there.
Titan's group sales declined by 11% year-on-year to Euro225.4m. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 29% to Euro34 m.