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Titan Posts First-Quarter Loss

World Cement,

Greece’s largest producer of building material, Titan Cement Co SA, posted a first-quarter net loss as construction activity declined and the euro slumped.

Athens-based Titan reported a €4.3 million (US$6.3 million) net loss compared with last year’s profit of €24.8 million. Sales reportedly fell 12% to €252.9 million. According to a statement from the company, a €14 million exchange-rate loss was caused by the euro’s depreciation in the first quarter.

“2011 will be another challenging year,” the company said in the statement. “In Greece, measures taken to improve public finances and the cutbacks to public investment programs are expected to lead to a further substantial decline in construction activity.”

There were only 1520 construction permits issued in Greece this past January, a 63% drop, according to data released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority today. The government is implementing austerity measures it agreed to last year in exchange for bailout funds from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The company expects the building recovery in the US to be slow and “no significant” improvement in operating results is seen. The statement notes a “cautious optimism” as Egypt performed well in the first three months of the year, and Turkey’s strong economy indicates positive prospects. However, Titan expects a “negative impact” from higher energy costs, according to the statement.

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