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Titan International Inc  (TWI)
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    Sector  Consumer Discretionary    Industry Auto & Truck Parts


Titan International Inc

Business Description

Titan International, Inc. and its subsidiaries hold the position of being a global wheel, tire and undercarriage industrial group servicing customers across its target markets. As a leading manufacturer in the off-highway industry, Titan produces a broad range of specialty products to meet the specifications of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket customers in the agricultural, earthmoving/construction and consumer markets. As a manufacturer of both wheels and tires, the Company is uniquely positioned to offer customers added value through complete wheel and tire assemblies. Titan's agricultural market includes rims, wheels, tires and undercarriage systems and components manufactured for use on various agricultural and forestry equipment. Titan’s earthmoving/construction market includes rims, wheels, tires and undercarriage systems and components for various types of off-the-road (OTR) earthmoving, mining, military and construction equipment. The Company's consumer market includes bias truck tires in Latin America and light truck tires in Russia, as well as products for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

As one of the few companies dedicated to off-highway wheels, tires and assemblies, Titan’s engineering and manufacturing resources are focused on designing quality products that address the needs of our end-users. Titan’s team of experienced engineers continually work on new and improved engineered solutions that evolve with today’s applications for the off-highway wheel, tire and assembly markets.

The Company traces its roots to the Electric Wheel Company in Quincy, Illinois, which was founded in 1890. Titan was incorporated in 1983. The Company has grown through six major acquisitions in recent years. In 2005, Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of the Company, acquired The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s North American farm tire assets. In 2006, Titan Tire Corporation of Bryan, a subsidiary of the Company, acquired the off-the-road (OTR) tire assets of Continental Tire North America, Inc. In 2011, the Company acquired The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's Latin American farm tire business. In August 2012, the Company purchased a 56% controlling interest in Planet Corporation Group, now known as Titan National (Australia) Holdings PTY LTD (TNAH). In October 2012, the Company completed its acquisition of Titan Europe. In October 2013, the Company in partnership with One Equity Partners (OEP) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) closed the acquisition of an 85% interest in Voltyre-Prom, a leading producer of agricultural and industrial tires in Volgograd, Russia. In the first half of 2014, the partnership of Titan, OEP, and RDIF purchased an additional 15% to bring the total Voltyre-Prom ownership to 100% for the partnership. These acquisitions have allowed Titan to expand its global footprint and enhance product offering in the Company’s target markets.

Titan’s business strategy is to increase its presence in the segments it serves through its one-stop assembly solutions, including LSW technology. The Company continues to seek global expansion of this complete wheel and tire assembly product offering within the geographies it competes. This may be through strategic worldwide acquisitions or through expanded manufacturing capabilities in regions where the Company lacks either the wheel or the tire production. In addition, Titan continually seeks to improve operating efficiencies and gain additional synergies from more recent acquisitions.

Low Sidewall (LSW) Technology
The Company has developed a LSW tire technology, featuring a larger rim diameter and a smaller sidewall than standard tires. As a cornerstone of the Company's strategy, Titan continues to expand the LSW product offering in both the agricultural and construction segments. Titan’s unique capabilities as both a wheel and tire manufacturer allow the Company to drive further adoption within these markets. Titan seeks to be at the forefront of off-road equipment advancement through the innovation of its LSW solution with the belief that it will become the industry standard.

The Company follows an adoption strategy whereby LSW assemblies are placed with certain end users in order to demonstrate the superior performance of this innovative solution. With LSW, these end users experience reduced power hop, road lope, soil compaction, and fuel consumption as well as improved safety and performance. Both power hop and road lope can disturb ride and impede equipment performance. Low sidewall technology has been widely adopted within the automotive industry for many years. The benefits translate to Titan's markets through superior comfort, ride and fuel economy.

OTR and Earthmoving Product
The Company’s 2006 acquisition of the OTR tire assets of Continental Tire North America, Inc. in Bryan, Ohio, expanded Titan’s product offering into larger earthmoving, construction and mining tires. In 2008, the Company expanded the Bryan facility production capacity to include giant mining tires. The mining tire market is expected to offer long-term opportunities.

Increase Aftermarket Tire Business
The Company has concentrated on increasing its presence in the tire aftermarket, which historically has tended to be somewhat less cyclical than the OEM market. The aftermarket also offers the potential for higher profit margins and is a larger market in most cases.

Improve Operating Efficiencies
The Company constantly works to improve the operating efficiency of its assets and manufacturing facilities. Titan integrates each facility’s strengths, which may include transferring equipment and business to the facilities that are best equipped to handle the work. This provides capability to increase utilization and spread operating costs over a greater volume of products. Titan is also continuing a comprehensive program to refurbish, modernize and enhance the technology of its equipment.

Enhance Design Capacity and New Product Development
Equipment manufacturers constantly face changing industry dynamics. Titan directs its business and marketing strategy to understand and address the needs of its customers and demonstrate the advantages of its products. In particular, the Company often collaborates with customers in the design of new and enhanced products. Titan recommends modified products to its customers based on its own market information. These value-added services enhance Titan’s relationships with its customers. The Company tests new designs and technologies and develops methods of manufacturing to improve product quality and performance. Titan’s engineers have introduced designs for giant mining wheels and tires, which employ an innovative steel radial construction technology. Titan has also developed a Low Sidewall (LSW) tire technology, featuring a larger rim diameter and smaller sidewall than standard tires, which helps reduce power hop, road lope, soil compaction, and provides improved safety and performance.

Explore Additional Strategic Acquisitions
The Company’s expertise in the manufacture of off-highway wheels, tires and undercarriage systems and components has permitted it to take advantage of opportunities to acquire businesses that complement this product line. In the future, Titan may make additional strategic acquisitions of businesses that have an off-highway focus. The Company continually explores worldwide opportunities to expand manufacturing and distribution in order to serve new and existing geographies.

Titan’s operations include manufacturing wheels, manufacturing tires, combining these wheels and tires into assemblies, and manufacturing undercarriage systems and components for use in the agricultural, earthmoving/construction and consumer markets. These operations entail many manufacturing processes in order to complete the finished products.

Wheel Manufacturing Process
Most agricultural wheels are produced using a rim and a center disc. A rim is produced by first cutting large steel sheets to required width and length specifications. These steel sections are rolled and welded to form a circular rim, which is flared and formed in the rollform operation. The majority of discs are manufactured using presses that both blank and form the center to specifications in multiple stage operations. The Company e-coats wheels using a multi-step process prior to the final paint top coating.

Large earthmoving/construction steel wheels are manufactured from hot and cold-rolled steel sections. Hot-rolled sections are generally used to increase cross section thickness in high stress areas of large diameter wheels. A special cold forming process for certain wheels is used to increase cross section thickness while reducing the number of wheel components. Rims are built from a series of hoops that are welded together to form a rim base. The complete rim base is made from either three or five separate parts that lock together after the rubber tire has been fitted to the wheel and inflated.

For most wheels in our consumer segment, the Company manufactures rims and center discs from steel sheets. Rims are rolled and welded, and discs are stamped and formed from the sheets. The manufacturing process then entails welding the rims to the centers and painting the assembled product.

Tire Manufacturing Process
The first stage in tire production is the mixing of rubber, carbon black and chemicals to form various rubber compounds. These rubber compounds are then extruded and processed with textile or steel materials to make specific components. These components – beads (wire bundles that anchor the tire with the wheel), plies (layers of fabric that give the tire strength), belts (fabric or steel fabric wrapped under the tread in some tires), tread and sidewall – are then assembled into an uncured tire carcass. The uncured carcass is placed into a press that molds and vulcanizes the carcass under set time, temperature and pressure into a finished tire.

Wheel and Tire Assemblies
The Company’s position as a manufacturer of both wheels and tires allows Titan to mount and deliver one of the largest selections of off-highway assemblies in North America. Titan offers this value-added service of one-stop shopping for wheel and tire assemblies for the agricultural, earthmoving/construction and consumer segments. Both standard and LSW assemblies are delivered as a single, complete unit based on each customer’s unique requirements.

Undercarriage Manufacturing Process
The undercarriage components (track groups, track and carrier rollers, idler assemblies and sprockets) are all manufactured from steel and produced according to specifications.

All of the track groups produced by the Company are built from four major parts: shoes, right and left hand links, pins and bushings. Shoes are manufactured from steel cast in the Company foundry or obtained from different shapes of hot rolled profiles (depending on application), sheared to length, and then heat treated for high wear bending and breaking resistance. Right and left hand links are hot forged, trimmed, mass heat treated, machined and finally induction hardened on rail surface for optimal wear and fatigue resistance. Pins are made from round bars that are cut, machined, heat treated and surface finished. Bushings are generally cold extruded, machined, mass heat treated, and finally carburized or induction hardened for wear resistance and optimal toughness.

The lifetime lubricated and maintenance free track and carrier rollers are assembled with two major components: single or double flange roller shells (typically hot forged in halves, deep hardened, friction or arc welded and finish machined with metallurgical characteristics depending upon size and application) and shafts (generally cut from bars or forged, mass heat treated, rough machined, induction hardened and ground).

The idler assemblies are also lifetime lubricated, for virtually no maintenance. They are offered with cast (single web or hollow design) or fabricated shells, depending on size and application, and feature induction hardened tread surfaces for optimal wear resistance.

The sprockets, designed to transfer the machine driving loads from the final drive to the track, are produced cast or forged in several geometric options, depending upon size and application. They are also heat treated for wear resistance and cracking resistance.

The undercarriage systems, custom designed and produced by the Company, consist of a structured steel fabricated frame, all the undercarriage components mentioned above (track groups, track and carrier rollers, idler assemblies and sprockets) and a final drive. They are completely assembled in house, for consistent quality.


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