Titan S.A., one of the biggest cement producers in South-East Europe and an industrial cornerstone in Greece for 116 years, dropped a bombshell late on Thursday. The company said it is transferring its corporate headquarters to Belgium, citing difficult and expensive borrowing in Greece.
Titan follows other major industrial units, such as Viohalco and Coca Cola Hellenic, which transferred their corporate operations outside Greece, ostensibly for greater tax relief and cheaper borrowing.
In its lengthy announcement the multinational company said it was founding Titan Cement International S.A. in Brussels and aiming to float its shares on Brussels’ Euronext stock exchange, along with the parallel secondary trading on the Athens Stock Exchange and Paris’ Euronext.
TITAN S.A. had 13 cement and building material plants, 3 of located in Greece, 2 in the USA, 5 in Southeastern Europe (Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia) and 3 in Middle East (Egypt and Turkey). Additionally there are 25 distribution terminals, 126 ready-mix plants, 64 quarries, 3 grinding plants, 9 concrete block plants, 9 Fly ash processing plants, 1 dry mortar plant and 1 processed engineered fuel facility.
“The announcement was not unexpected as Titan’s leadership over the past few years had warned that it was seeking various ways to achieve easier and cheaper borrowing in order to boost its competitiveness and market share,” naftemporiki notes.
In 2017, TITAN Cement had reportedly a total turnover of €2.595 billion and a net profit of €230.9 million.
TITAN was established in 1902 by Nikoalos Canellopoulos was listed on the Athens stock exchange ten years later, in 1912.
Today, Canellopoulos owns 31.92% of the company, while Edyvem Limited owns 11%.
“On Thursday Titan announced a voluntary tender offer, submitted by newly created Titan Cement International S.A., for the exchange of all the ordinary shares and preference shares issued by the former with new shares of the latter. The purpose of the offer, according to press release, is to facilitate the listing of Titan Group on Euronext Brussels,” naftemporiki, capital and other Greek media report.
TITAN’s transferring its corporate headquarters outside the country, “constitutes an ominous development for business confidence” in post-bailout Greece.