Titanium dioxide (TiO2) maker Kronos Worldwide (Dallas, Texas) reported a fourth-quarter loss of $19.9 million, down from a net income of $31.6 million in the year-ago period. Net sales of $342.4 million were down 31% year on year (YOY). Fourth-quarter TiO2 sales volume was down 39.7% YOY. Reported adjusted earnings per share came to a loss of 18 cents, down from a gain of 28 cents/share in the year-ago period and 11 cents short of analysts’ consensus estimates compiled by S&P Global Capital IQ.
The TiO2 segment posted a loss of $15.0 million in the fourth quarter, down from a segment profit of $55.6 million in the fourth-quarter 2021. The loss was attributed to the sharp drop in sales volumes, higher production costs, a 1% weaker product mix, and a 5% currency headwind being partially offset by a 15% higher average TiO2 selling price. By the end of the fourth quarter, production capacity utilization fell to 65%.
Kronos expects to see some improving demand in Europe in 2023 while demand in North America is expected to remain weak for the first two quarters; exports are projected to be boosted by the end of customer destocking. Kronos expects a return to full production capacity by the end of second quarter 2023, although forecasted full year 2023 operating results will be lower than 2022.
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