Venator to close fire-hit Pori TiO2 plant on reconstruction 'cost escalation'

12 September 2018 12:24 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Venator is to close its titanium dioxide (TiO2) plant in Pori, Finland, by 2021 due to "cost escalation and extended timeline" for its reconstruction following a fire in 2017, the US-headquartered chemical producer said on Wednesday.

The company said it would shift its Pori technology to other sites.

The plant will operate at reduced capacity through to 2021, at around 25,000 tonnes/year, or 20% of the total, it added.

“As a result of unanticipated cost escalation and extended timeline now understood to be associated with the reconstruction of the Pori facility, Venator will transfer certain technology, and the production of select product grades, to other facilities,” said the company.

Venator hinted in July that costs of reconstruction at Pori were escalating, adding it was mulling the acquisition of a TiO2 production facility in Ohio, US, that offered a potential alternative.

It added that it intends to restore around 45,000 tonnes/year of its TiO2 operating capacity at the former Pori facility within its existing network.

It said the remaining capacities could generate approximately $30m of annual adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2020 and more than $60m in 2023.

"Following an intense review, we have decided to close our Pori, Finland titanium dioxide facility and implement this product transfer and strengthening plan,” said Simon Turner, Venator’s CEO.

“We expect this plan to provide a better economic return than alternative options.”

While the company did not provide details on how employment will be affected, it said that it regretted the “impact this decision will have on our associates at Pori”, adding that it was aiming to treat them with “fairness and respect”.

Venator declined to comment further at the time of publication.

TiO2 is used as a white powder pigment in products such as paints, coatings, plastics, paper, inks, fibres, food and cosmetics.

Picture source: Venator

By Heidi Finch