US TiO2 stock prices plunge on fall in DuPont Q3 earnings

23 October 2012 17:20  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Stock prices for US producers of titanium dioxide (TiO2) plunged on Tuesday, after DuPont attributed a decline in third-quarter earnings to weaker-than-expected demand for the pigment.

DuPont’s third-quarter net income fell sharply to $10m (€7.7m) from $452m reported in the same period in 2011.

US-based TiO2 producer Tronox was trading at $20.22 as of 11:56 hours New York time (15:56 hours GMT), down more than 10%, the worst performer among the North American stocks followed by ICIS. DuPont followed Tronox, falling by 9%.

After DuPont came Huntsman, which produces polyurethanes as well as TiO2. Huntsman's stock fell by nearly 7%. US-based pigment producer Kronos was also down by nearly 7%.

During the third quarter, two domestic TiO2 price cuts occurred, dropping contract values by a total of 10-13 cents/lb.

The first reductions of 5-8 cents/lb came in August, and a second round of cuts averaging 5 cents/lb was implemented at the end of September.

The reductions took domestic prices to a new third-quarter range of $1.90-$1.99/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

Though producers did not comment on the reductions, buyers cited an apparent eagerness by producers to reduce excess inventories amid ongoing slack demand.

The cuts were welcome, but buyers said they were undertaking their usual year-end destocking as the market enters its seasonally weakest period of the year.

However, most customers anticipate - or will seek - further price weakness of at least 3-4 cents/lb before January, and most architectural coatings makers said they would do little or no buying before they begin to restock for paint production in the first quarter, ahead of the spring paint and coatings season.

($1 = €0.77)

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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