Usually a conference write-up will touch on a few highlights, give some statistics and be fairly brief. Not so the TiO2 conference report in this issue of PCI. In my 35 years in the industry I don’t recall ever reading a conference report that in fact was so thorough and all inclusive as to be an industry market report on the global business today. And it was enjoyable reading!
I would highly recommend that you all read this insightful analysis, as it reflects not only the current state of the white pigment market but also the global economic recession and the signs of optimism for the survivors of the “industry shake-out”. Discussions on China, for example, highlight trends and major consumers within the coatings industry.
Another example of two life-cycle analyses points out some valuable information gleaned that might not have been so obvious for the companies involved without processing through the book-keeping exercise.
Reading this report also provides good insight into the unique position DuPont holds in the titanium business. They see the current crisis as an opportunity to improve their competitive advantage. Since DuPont didn’t join the TiO2 manufacturing ranks until 1931, which was not a good year for U.S. industrial production, they have proven to be survivors at weathering tough economic conditions.
Cristal Global moved up to the number-two spot rather quickly for a relative newcomer to the titanium business. Their pigment-producing plant in Saudi Arabia is still the only TiO2 plant in the Middle East. They are a fast-moving and aggressive company to watch....