10 July 2000 00:00 [Source: ICB]
A steady increase in global demand, at times touching
double digit rates, has prompted a series of debottlenecks
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a $7bn/year global industry.
Worldwide demand in 1999 stood at 3.82m tonne, according to
consultancy Artikol. Global capacity is estimated at 4.47m
tonne/year in 2000. The US and western Europe account for a third
of the market each with Asia consuming nearly 25%. Producers report
very tight markets in western Europe as a result of high demand and
a number of plant outages over the past few months. A number of
ownership changes have occurred in recent years leading to some
industry consolidation. By end 2000 five players will account for
close to 75% of global TiO2 production. DuPont with 22% is the
largest. In Europe HICI (Huntsman 70%, ICI 30%) is the largest
producer. Huntsman bought Tioxide from ICI last year following FTC
objections to the deal with DuPont. Kerr-McGee has bought the
remaining 20% of its 80%-owned plants from Bayer and completed the
purchase of Kemira's US and Dutch assets. Kemira retains Pori of
TiO2 is a white pigment used in paints, protective coatings,
inks, plastics, rubber, paper, ceramics and synthetic fibres. It is
also used to provide whiteness in cosmetics and toothpastes. The
largest consumer, paints, accounts for 57% of global consumption,
plastics is next with 21%, followed by paper with 14%.
Prices for standard rutile material stand at DM4.20/kg
($2.05/kg) in western Europe, $1.01-1.10/lb in the US and
$2000-2200/tonne in Asia. All major European producers, including
Kronos, Millennium, Huntsman Tioxide and Kerr McGee, announced
price increases between E140-150/tonne ($134-143/tonne) effective 1
July. Huntsman Tioxide said it would also raise prices in the US
and deep sea regions in July. European prices are up to E200/tonne
below prices in the rest of the world as a result of euro
TiO2 is produced from either ilmenite, synthetic rutile or
titanium slag. Titanium pigment is extracted by using either
sulphuric acid (sulphate process) or chlorine (chloride route). The
sulphate route is perceived to be less environmentally friendly but
acid recycling or neutralisation, combined with other byproduct
developments, can make it as clean as the chloride route. The
sulphate route generally has higher production costs and with acid
treatment is more expensive to build than a chloride plant.
However, the latter may require the construction of a chlor-alkali
The chloride route produces a more pure product with a tighter
range of particle size, but anatase pigments can only be produced
by the sulphate route. Millennium estimates that 57% of world
production uses the chloride route but among the seven top
producers the figure rises to 66%.
Global demand has been picking up steadily since the second half
of 1999, especially in Asia. In Europe one producer talked of
experiencing double digit growth in the first half of this year.
However, in the long term, consultants estimate west European
demand growth at 3-4%/year. For the rest of 2000 global demand is
set to grow at around 4.5%, according to Millennium.
Prices are below reinvestment levels but a number of
debottlenecks worldwide will add an extra 200 000 tonne/year of
capacity by 2003. Of this around 90 000 tonne/year is in Europe.
This includes production at the chloride route unit at Greatham,
UK, rising to its rated 100 000 tonne/year and production in Huelva
rising by 15 000 tonne/year; the 20000 tonne/year Kemira hike at
Pori, Finland, and the 15 000 tonne/year increase at Sachtleben's
Duisberg, Germany, plant.
Expansion at DuPont's plant at New Johnsonville, Tennessee, US,
will add 65 000 tonne/year, bringing it to 395 000 tonne/year.
Upgrades in China should add 20 000-30 000 tonne/year.
MAJOR GLOBAL TIO2 CAPACITY, '000
|Cristal Yanbu, Saudi Arabia
||New Johnsonville, TN, US
||Hamilton, MS, US
||Varennes, Que, Canada
||Varennes, Que, Canada
|Louisiana Lake Charles, LA, US
|Millennium Ashtabula, OH, US
|Sachtleben Duisburg, Germany
|Huntsman Calais, France
||Teluk Kalung, Malaysia
||Umbogintwini, South Africa
|Process: S=sulphate C=chloride
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