DuPont, already the world’s largest producer of titanium dioxide, is about to dramatically expand production of the pigment, which has been subject to spot shortages in recent years.
Fresh off a blockbuster first-quarter report of double-digit sales and lucrative TiO2 price increases, the Wilmington, DE-based company has announced a comprehensive titanium dioxide expansion plan that will add about 771 million pounds of global capacity.
The expansion includes new production facilities at the company’s Altamira (Mexico) site and additional investments to improve productivity at its other titanium dioxide sites around the world. The company did not release specific facility details.
The increase will “strengthen the company’s capability to meet the increasing demand from its customers,” DuPont said in a statement.
DuPont Titanium Technologies is the world's largest manufacturer of titanium dioxide and a pioneer in TiO2 technology for the coatings industry. The white pigment is widely used in the coatings, paper, plastics and laminates industries.
|DuPont’s Titanium Technologies business produces TiO2 for marine, protective and other coatings.|
DuPont will invest more than $500 million to build the new line at the Altamira site. The line is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014 and will provide about 440 million pounds of new capacity per year.
Meanwhile, facility upgrades under way at DuPont’s five other titanium dioxide manufacturing sites will continue over the next three years, yielding about 330.6 million pounds of additional capacity.
“This expansion and upgrades of our facilities allow us to rapidly adapt to changes in the marketplace and consistently meet the ever-changing demands of our customer base,” said DuPont Titanium Technologies president BC Chong.
|The increased capacity will ensure a “sustainable supply” of titanium dioxide, which has been scarce in recent years, says Titanium Technologies president B.C. Chong.|
“Adding capacity at our Altamira site in Mexico as well as improving our existing uptime and production rates at all sites is a vital part of our strategy to help our customers succeed. By increasing capacity, we will ensure a sustainable supply for customers and partners to help secure their success in the marketplace.”
More Options Studied
In addition to expanding its existing manufacturing sites, DuPont says it will “continue to identify capacity options,” including continued commitment to the current Dongying (China) greenfield plan.
DuPont Titanium Technologies operates plants at DeLisle, MS; New Johnsonville, TN; Edge Moor, DE; Altamira, Mexico; and Kuan Yin, Taiwan. All use the chloride manufacturing process.
The company also operates a mine in Starke, FL and technical service centers in Brazil, Mexico, Belgium, Russia, Taiwan, Korea, China, India and Delaware.
In April, DuPont announced that its first-quarter sales had increased by 18% overall—and by 30% in developing markets— to $10 billion, with nearly half of the increase coming from higher selling prices.
Sales in Performance Chemicals, which includes Titanium Technologies, climbed 27%, to $1.8 billion, due to 21% higher selling prices and 6% higher volume, the company said.