RTI puts plant on hold indefinitely

by Wally Northway

Published: December 16,2009

Tags: manufacturing, recession

HAMILTON — RTI International Metals Inc. has determined to indefinitely idle plans to construct a titanium sponge facility in Mississippi. In addition, RTI has also entered into two additional long-term titanium sponge supply agreements with Toho Titanium Co., Ltd. and OSAKA Titanium technologies Co., Ltd. (OTC), both of Japan.

Dawne S. Hickton, RTI vice chairman, CEO and president, said, “Taken together with our existing long-term agreement with OTC, which runs through 2016, these contracts, which commence in 2012 and 2013, will provide to RTI a cost-effective source of titanium sponge from proven suppliers through 2021 with volume flexibility that we believe will adequately support our long-term titanium supply needs.”

The company’s decision to idle construction affects earlier plans to build a $300-million titanium sponge plant in Hamilton in East Mississippi. As a result, RTI will incur asset impairment and related charges in the range of $65 million to $75 million.

RTI previously filed a complaint in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York against Tronox, LLC, challenging the validity of a titanium tetrachloride supply agreement related to the titanium sponge project in Mississippi. The company said it believes its claims are meritorious, but pending the outcome of this litigation, additional contractual expenses could range from zero to approximately $36 million.

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