QUINCY, Ill., Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Titan International Inc. announced that on Oct. 3, 2019, through one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, the company completed the sale of shares of Wheels India Ltd. in on-market trades on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. The sale reduces the company's indirect ownership interest in Wheels India from approximately 34.2% of the outstanding shares of Wheels India to approximately 23.8%. The company received net proceeds from the on-market trades of approximately $19 million, net of charges, discounts and commissions, which Titan expects to use to pay down outstanding indebtedness. Wheels India is one of the largest global steel wheel manufacturers.
Paul Reitz, president and chief executive officer, said, "During our second quarter earnings release, we noted our multi-dimensional plan of attack to effectively deal with the current business cycle that included protection of our balance sheet as a facet of the plan. This recent action to sell Wheels of India shares is among the several steps we are taking to optimize our balance sheet and cost position in light of the current market conditions. I expect to see further cashflow improvements over the course of the next several quarters, coming from improvements in our working capital management that we are already seeing, along with other asset sales, which will enhance our flexibility to manage the business in the current business climate."
Reitz added, "We firmly believe that Wheels India is a strong company on a good path for the future. We continue to support its current leadership and will maintain our two board seats as part of our remaining 23.8% stake."
Titan International's Board Chairman, Maurice Taylor, said, "They are taking the proper actions to reduce non-core assets and to concentrate our investments into our core wheels, tires and undercarriage businesses. The markets have been very difficult to say the least, but there are reasons to be optimistic that the next year could see an uptick in both farm and construction. It is a fact that Titan's primary factories are in countries that have major agriculture economies that produce and export food. The Board agrees with the Titan's team plan to reduce our non-core assets that have been part of Titan's expansion over the last 30 years and to focus more heavily on our Ag wheels and tires businesses.”