Worcestershire steel wheel maker Titan Europe has shrugged off the downturn in the US construction industry to almost triple its first half profits.

The firm, which has its HQ in Cookley near Kidderminster, saw pretax profits rise by 180 per cent in the six months to June 30, helped by a buoyant construction and mining markets elsewhere.

Titan, which employs 300 of its 3,000 staff in the Midlands, designs, manufactures and distributes wheels, undercarriage components and assemblies for tracked and wheeled off road vehicles.

Pretax profits rose from were up 180 per cent to £15.6 million, from £5.6 million last year, while overall profit was 240 per cent up at £10.2 million.

Revenue during the six months was 3.5 per cent from £193.1 million to £199.8 million in the six months to June 30.

This was despite a blip in the American market, where demand for light construction equipment - equipped with wheels and undercarriages built by Titan - has fallen away with the slow down of the housing market.

Sales in North America declined from £42 million to £32 million in the first half of the year.

But Titan said it was benefiting from the strength in mining markets worldwide, while huge increases in cereal prices had boosted agriculture - and demand for the firm's farming products.

Economic growth in Germany and Eastern Europe was also fuelling demand for off highway vehicles in construction and agriculture.

Overall sales into Europe rose from £104 million in the first half of last year to £117 for the first six months of 2007. UK sales increased from £12 million to £13 million.

Mike Akers, chief executive of the Titan, said: "We have increased our overall volumes which has produced some strong margins, and we have had some significant reductions in fixed costs and general administration costs."

He added greater synergies had been created from the integration of undercarriage maker ITM into Titan's operations, while margins had been improved.

Around a quarter of Titan's products go into the mining industry, particularly the large open cast mines in Australia and Chile and Peru.

The buoyancy of this sector had encouraged mining companies to invest in more tracked vehicles for their mines, and to service the new quarries that were opening up.

Mr Akers said: "Companies are doing well and investing in their equipment, but they are also opening up new mines.

"The agriculture market for large equipment is very strong, partly because cereal prices are very high and there is a huge increase in cereal production for use in bio fuels and food.

"There has been significant regeneration in eastern European farming infrastructure, which is going to western European tractor makers we supply."

Mr Akers admitted that sales into small excavator and bulldozer market in the US had not done as well.

"That we have been able to post a significant increase in overall sales against a background of reducing sales in North America shows the strength of our performance."

Mr Akers said Titan was targeting further organic growth, and perhaps more acquisitions.

It was also looking at joint venture projects in India and China for the undercarriage division, and further facilities for the manufacture of earthmover wheels.

The earthmover wheel facility in Cook-ley which recently won the Queens Award for enterprise, exports nearly 80 per cent of its production.

Alan Matthews, at house brokers Seymour Pierce called the results a strong performance and on target to meet forecasts for full year sales of £385 million and pretax profits of £34 million.

"Titan has established itself as a key player in the global off road vehicle supply sector."