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Titan Posts First-Quarter Loss on Greek Building, Weak Euro

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Titan Cement Co SA, Greece’s biggest producer of the building material, posted a first-quarter net loss as construction activity declined and the euro slumped.

Titan reported a 4.3 million-euro ($6.3 million) net loss compared with a year-earlier profit of 24.8 million euros, the Athens-based company said in a faxed statement today. Sales fell 12 percent to 252.9 million euros. Depreciation of the euro in the first quarter resulted in a 14 million-euro exchange-rate loss, according to the statement.

“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.”

Construction permits issued in Greece in January dropped 63 percent to 1,520, 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 building recovery in the U.S. is expected to be slow and “no significant” improvement in operating results is seen, Titan said. Egypt performed well in the first three months of the year, allowing “cautious” optimism, and Turkey’s strong economy indicates positive prospects, according to the statement.

Titan expects a “negative impact” from higher energy costs, according to the statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.neT

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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