Polyurethanes, pigments strongest segments – US Huntsman

14 June 2012 23:53  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Polyurethanes and titanium dioxide (TiO2) continue to be Huntsman’s leading market segments, the US-based chemicals producer said on Thursday.

“Polyurethanes represents the largest upside for us,” Kurt Ogden, Huntsman’s vice president of investor relations said during a presentation at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference. “We think this industry will continue to see dynamic growth.”

He said segment growth should average 7-8% annually - much as it has for the last 20 years - but that margins likely will be stronger because of improved penetration of polyurethanes into the housing market.

“The amount of polyurethanes in each housing start has doubled, he said, adding that demand for the product in high-end automobiles also has bolstered the market.

“A key point is that utilisation rates will lead to pricing leverage in the industry,” Ogden said.

Huntsman’s pigment business has seen earnings grow exponentially since the depths of the recession, Ogden said, but the business is expected to operate at a plateau during the next couple of years.

However, rising ilmenite ore costs will necessitate further price increases in the near term, he added.

Current domestic TiO2 prices are $2.00-$2.12/lb ($4,409-4,674/tonne, €3,483-3,692/tonne), as assessed by ICIS, but current North American initiatives seek gains of 20 cents/lb on 1 July.

Domestic buyers are vying for third-quarter contract price rollovers, citing ample supply and soft demand, but most of Huntsman’s pigment demand is from Europe.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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