Chemours to Shutter U.S. Pigment Capacity

The Chemours Co of Wilmington, DE plans to close its Edge Moor, DE titanium dioxide plant and Line 3 at its New Johnsonville, TN titanium dioxide plant by the end of next month. Together, these actions will eliminate about 150,000 tonnes/year of titanium dioxide capacity. The Edge Moor plant is configured to supply product to the paper industry, but demand for paper grades have declined steadily for years, resulting in underused capacity.

E Bryan Snell, president of Chemour’s’ Titanium Technologies segment, said, “”Our manufacturing capabilities are our greatest strength. Our plants in Mississippi, Tennessee, Mexico, and Taiwan enjoy industry-leading productivity, as well as the ability to use ore feedstock across the quality spectrum. These factors give us a low-cost position that is a key competitive advantage. Meanwhile, underused capacity at our Edge Moor plant keeps it from being cost-effective. And the line at Johnsonville is relatively small scale and high cost compared to our other production units. By shutting these down we’re concentrating our resources in a way that plays to our strengths.””

Chemours will incur non-cash charges of approximately US$110 million related to the facility closing in the third quarter. Additional restructuring and other charges related to severance, decommissioning and site redevelopment are expected to be in the range of US$75-85 million.

Chemours, recently spun-off from DuPont, has reported a second quarter net loss of US$18 million on net sales of US$1.5 billion versus a net income of US$116 million on sales of US$1.7 billion in the same period of 2014. Profitability was reduced as a result of 11% lower titanium dioxide prices, unfavorable exchange rates, and planned and unplanned plant outages. The company’’s Titanium Technologies segment had sales of US$642 million, a decline of 18% from the prior year quarter, its Fluoroproducts segment had sales of US$588 million, a 2% decline, and its Chemical Solutions segment had sales of US$278 million, a 17% decline.

Huntsman Corp of The Woodlands, TX says it remains committed to a separation of its Pigments and Additives business by the end of 2016 and is actively exploring additional possibilities outside of an initial public offering that may be completed sooner to enhance greater shareholder value. The company acquired the Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide businesses of Rockwood Holdings Inc of Princeton, NJ last year.

Argex Titanium Inc of Montreal, QC has signed letters of intent with ilmenite mining and distribution companies across Europe and India, for the supply of ilmenite concentrate to be shipped to its initial production facility in Valleyfield, QC. The agreements cover the full amount required for production of 50,000 tonnes/year of titanium dioxide and are with trading houses and mining companies selected on price, quality, and stability of supply.

Roy Bonnell, Argex’’s CEO, said, “”Typical titanium dioxide feedstock can run up to a level of 30% of a cost structure. Our target will be to keep this number below 10% without affecting end product quality as well as stability of supply. Feedstock is an important cost component. We see further opportunities to reduce production costs as the technology increases in usage.””

Volume 29 issue 16

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