Tronox Considering Pigment Acquisition From Rockwood

Tronox Ltd., the largest integrated producer of titanium-dioxide pigment, is considering acquiring assets from competitors including Rockwood Holdings Inc. to use more of its excess titanium-ore capacity.

The owners of titanium-dioxide plants in developed and emerging markets have approached Stamford, Connecticut-based Tronox “about something that might lead to a purchase,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Casey said in a telephone interview today. The company plans to reserve its $716 million of cash for such opportunities, he said.

Tronox, which acquired minerals assets from Exxaro Resources Ltd. in June, has 215,000 tons of ore production that isn’t used internally, Casey said.

Rockwood plans to sell its Sachtleben pigment unit this year, and Tronox will evaluate the asset, he said.

“There are reasons for us to certainly think about it,” Casey told analysts on a conference call today. “It is a moment in the industry where there might be opportunities for strategic activities.”

Tronox isn’t engaged in any negotiations, Casey said in the interview.

“But various people understand that we have the ability to change the cost structure of an existing plant almost overnight by feeding our own feedstock into it,” Casey said. “Now we are getting our financing organized.”