Titan at Large

What is Titan doing?

That question has been on my mind for years, perhaps a bit more so now that the company has indicated plans to bundle its EMS and part of its bare board manufacturing units into a single, public company.

As those who have followed the company through the years know, Titan is the antithesis of focused. The parent company, Titan Global Holdings, has cobbled together a host of seemingly distressed assets into an incoherent industrial albatross.

A few years ago, a group of venture capitalists (then called Ventures National Inc.) bought the ex Tyco PWB plant in Fremont, CA, and set up shop. In 2002, they purchased EMC, an Amesbury, MA-based PWB plant known for its rigid-flex capabilities, for $500,000. Neither shop was a financial world-beater, but from the outside it appeared Titan was buying low and hoping for an industry comeback.

Then the weirdness started. Titan went through what seemed to be a new president a month as it grappled with the nuances of the disintegrating PWB market. It also started snatching up businesses in outside industries. In a totally unrelated move in 2005, Titan purchased Oblio Telecom, a distributor of phone cards. It also invested in companies in the energy market (for example, the Appalachian Oil Co.).

Last fall, it branched into the EMS market, buying Nexus Nano, the former EMS divison of component distributor Jaco Electronics. (For its part, Nexus, which was reportedly having cash flow problems, had just undergone some financial maneuvers with MassTech EMS, yet another distressed EMS company.)

Keeping up?

To keep everything straight, the combo of Titan PCB East, Titan PCB West and Nexus group was renamed Titan Electronics and Homeland Security Division.

In its latest move, Titan said it would form a new unit consisting of Titan PCB East (the former EMC), and Titan Nexus Inc. (aka Neo EMS aka Nexus Nano). The units would be renamed Neo Electronics and spunout as a separate public company.
What’s more, Titan PCB West (the Fremont bare board shop) would be renamed Titan Electronics Inc., and spun out as well (for some bizarre reason, the CEO apparently believes that factory makes assemblies, not bare boards. Oh well.).

I’m not going to pretend I understand all this, although my guess would be the management feels it must keep increasing the topline, even at the expense of profits, lest they be lynched by angry shareholders.

But it says here, it can only benefit those customers Titan’s various electronics companies have left if the management sees fit to aggressively, and at long last, find a buyer who knows which end of a circuit board is up.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

2 thoughts on “Titan at Large

  1. Q: What is Titan doing?
    A: Making the classic mistake of believing their profits are derived more from the sale of stock and less from the sale of products and services. Mike nailed it in the second-to-the-last sentence of his post.

    Credit must be given, however, for the EMC purchase: That real estate alone is worth more the $500k, even in today’s market.

    I wish Titan luck: History suggests they will surely need it.

  2. My problem is I can build anything from conceot to the most specialized project 10 microns thin , flex multilayer etc But I am not good in bussiness!!!!! so the others make money doing the samething over and over or trying to get my secrets Now how do you explain this? the small working -owner who can do it but nots rich – Darn-

    How are you doing I am making rigid air boards or rubber boards now who wants to buy my small shop or me for my knowledge!?!?

    HOw are you doing
    brigitte Lawrence
    1725 Fleetwood
    ElginIL 60123

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