Titan Group Turnover according to Greek GAAP totaled € 1,104 m., up 6.6% versus 2003. Operating EBITDA grew by 9.3% to € 323 m. Net profit for the Group, after minority interests and taxes, reached € 169 m, up by 35%.
The operating results were affected negatively by the revaluation of the Euro in 2004, especially vs the US dollar. At constant exchange rates, our turnover grew by 11% and our operating EBITDA by 12.6%.
The growth in operating EBITDA is exclusively due to the growth and performance improvement of our international operations, which more than compensated for the anticipated drop in profitability in Greece post completion of the preparations for the Athens Olympics.
The significant improvement in Net Profit after Taxes is due to a positive balance in our extraordinary results, which is mainly the result of our foreign exchange policy.
With a view to better inform the investment community, we are also releasing today, for the first time, together with our results under Greek GAAP, our results under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for 2003 and 2004. As you can see from the summary table below, our results are slightly better under IFRS, without being materially different.
The main changes relate to the consolidation of our Egyptian operations (proportionate consolidation as opposed to equity consolidation used under Greek GAAP), the calculation of depreciation (useful life of assets versus tax-accelerated depreciation in Greece) and taxes (recognition of deferred tax liabilities), as well as the recording of foreign exchange differences.
|€ millions||Greek GAAP||IFRS|
|FY2004||FY2003||% change||FY2004||FY2003||% change|
|Net Profit before taxes||230||193||19,5%||243||195||24,3%|
|Net Profit after taxes||169||125||35,2%||177||123||44,0%|
More specifically, in the regions where the Group operates:
- In Greece, as expected, domestic demand for cement in the fourth quarter continued to fall following its pre-Olympic Games peak. The effect of cost increases in fuel was partially offset by the benefit of more efficient performance due to plant modernization.
- In the U.S.A., market conditions continued to improve. Price increases were underpinned by increased demand for our products. Our newly modernized Pennsuco plant is now fully operational and has reached rated capacity, already providing some of the much needed incremental cement volumes in Florida. Our new terminal in Tampa also opened during December, and will provide further flexibility for the expansion of our operations.
- The Group’s recent expansion in S.E. Europe positively affected the Group’s results. In Bulgaria, double digit growth in demand was recorded, Serbia posted a small recovery, while in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia we experienced a marginal slowdown.
- In Egypt, the price recovery was maintained as a result of the re-orientation of excess production capacity towards exports. However, domestic demand softened for the year, and was offset by a corresponding increase in exports. The Egyptian pound remained remarkably stable versus the US dollar, resulting in only a slight devaluation versus the Euro, compared to significant losses in 2003.
For 2005, we again expect improved contribution to operating profitability from our international activities, mainly in the USA, In Greece, a further decrease in demand is foreseen. Titan will continue to invest in the modernization of its plants, albeit at a lower rate compared to the last three years.
Sales of the parent, Titan Cement Company S.A., were flat at € 431 m. for 2004. Operating EBITDA at € 148 m. was down by 5%, reflecting a shift of volume from the domestic market to exports in the later part of the year, as well as cost increases in solid fuels. Increased depreciation charges totaling € 41m (versus € 27m in 2003), together with an increase in the provision for staff leaving indemnities, led to a 15% reduction in net profit after tax to € 95 m. Excluding those two items, net profit is in-line with 2003. The provision for taxes of the parent is not yet finalised as the Company is expecting clarification of recent tax law modifications by the government.
The Board of Directors of Titan Cement Co. S.A. will recommend to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, which has been scheduled for May 12, 2005, a cash dividend of € 0.52 per share, versus € 0.475 for the year 2003.