23 July 2013 17:07 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Sales volumes in DuPont’s titanium dioxide (TiO2) business reached a turning point in the second quarter, CEO Ellen Kullman said on Tuesday.
DuPont’s TiO2 volumes were up by 12% year on year in the three months ended 30 June, and they were up by 18% sequentially from the 2013 first quarter. This marks two consecutive quarters of year-on-year and sequential volume growth, Kullman told analysts during DuPont’s second-quarter results call.
"Our [TiO2] business is rebounding in terms of sequential sales volumes," Kullman said.
“We are seeing improvement in TiO2 operating earnings, sequentially,” she added.
However, lower TiO2 prices weighed on DuPont’s overall second-quarter net income, which was down by 12% year on year.
In comments accompanying the earnings call, DuPont said that it views TiO2 customer inventories as “normal”. Published reports indicated that producer inventory levels declined steadily since the 2012 fourth quarter, but remained slightly above normal, it added.
Hassan Ahmed, head of research at New York-based equities firm Alembic Global Advisors, said that DuPont’s second-quarter TiO2 performance indicated that the TiO2 cycle may have bottomed, implying a “positive read” for the second-quarter results of TiO2 producers Huntsman and Tronox.
DuPont added that, for the third-quarter, it expects sales in its performance chemicals segment to increase modestly on continued volume gains in TiO2. Third-quarter performance chemicals segment earnings would be down “substantially” year on year but up moderately on a sequential basis, the company said.
Earlier on Tuesday, DuPont announced that it may spin off the performance chemicals business, which includes its Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses. The performance chemicals business had sales of $7.2bn (€5.5bn) in 2012.
($1 = €0.76)
Additional reporting by Tom Brown
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