DuPont sees robust TiO2 outlook despite Q2 volume decline

24 July 2012 17:10  [Source: ICIS news]

TiO2 is widely used in paintsHOUSTON (ICIS)--The outlook for DuPont’s titanium dioxide (TiO2) business remains good, despite a year-on-year volume decline in the second quarter, the CEO of the diversified US-based chemicals and science major said on Tuesday.

“We believe that recent comments in the press regarding the [TiO2] outlook overstated the softness of the market,” Ellen Kullman told analysts during DuPont’s second-quarter earnings call.

Kullman said that TiO2 markets became soft in the second half of 2011 but have slowly recovered since then sequentially - a trend that DuPont expects to continue.

DuPont’s 2012 full-year TiO2 margins would be comparable with strong 2011 margins, she added but did not disclose those margins in percentage terms.

“Overall fundamentals in this market are robust,” she said.

“[TiO2] demand historically tracks GDP growth, we anticipate only modest capacity additions to this market over the next four years, and we expect favourable demand conditions during that time frame,” she added.

Kullman and chief financial officer Nicholas Fanandakis ruled out that DuPont may delay its planned TiO2 expansion in Mexico. That expansion is expected to start coming online in three to four years.

DuPont’s second-quarter sales volumes in its performance chemicals business – which includes TiO2 and fluoroproducts - fell 10% year on year. However, the decline was almost offset by a 9% year-on-year increase in prices.

As for DuPont's performance coatings business, Kullman did not directly respond to an analyst who asked whether the company had reached on whether to sell or keep that segment.

“We evaluate our portfolio each and every quarter,” she said. There had been speculation in the past that DuPont may want to divest the segment.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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