Kronos reports 127% increase in Q1 net earnings to US$136.9M and 34% increase in sales to US$561.3M as average Q1 titanium dioxide selling prices rose 34% and volumes increased 5% year-over-year

Dallas , May 9, 2012 (press release) – Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:KRO) today reported net income for the first quarter of 2012 of $136.9 million, or $1.18 per share, compared to net income of $60.3 million, or $.52 per share, in the first quarter of 2011. Comparability of the Company's results was impacted by higher income from operations in the first quarter of 2012 principally due to higher average TiO2 selling prices and higher sales and production volumes in 2012.

Net sales of $561.3 million in the first quarter of 2012 were $140.9 million, or 34% higher than in the first quarter of 2011 primarily due to higher average TiO2 selling prices and higher sales volumes, partially offset by the negative impact of fluctuations in currency exchange rates which decreased net sales by approximately $9 million. The Company's average TiO2 selling prices were 34% higher in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to the first quarter of 2011, and average selling prices at the end of the first quarter of 2012 were comparable to the end of 2011. TiO2 sales volumes for the first quarter of 2012 increased 5% as compared to the first quarter of 2011 due to increased customer demand, primarily in the North American and export markets. Kronos' sales volumes in the first quarter of 2012 set a new record for a first quarter. The table at the end of this press release summarizes how each of these items impacted the overall increase in sales.

The Company's TiO2 segment profit (see description of non-GAAP information below) for the first quarter of 2012 was $212.9 million as compared with segment profit of $104.2 million in the first quarter of 2011. Segment profit in the first quarter of 2012 increased due to higher TiO2 selling prices, higher sales volumes and higher production volumes. These increases were partially offset by higher raw material costs and the unfavorable effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates which decreased segment profit by approximately $3 million. The Company's TiO2 production volumes were 5% higher in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to the first quarter of 2011, with operating rates at near full practical capacity throughout the first quarter of 2012. Kronos' production volumes in the first quarter of 2012 set a new record for a first quarter.

As previously reported, in March 2011 we completed the redemption of €80 million principal amount of the Company's 6.5% Senior Secured Notes due in April 2013 at the redemption price of 102.167% of the principal amount. The Company's results in the first quarter of 2011 include an aggregate $3.3 million charge ($2.2 million, or $.02 per share, net of income tax benefit) consisting of the call premium and the write-off of unamortized deferred financing costs and original issue discount associated with the redeemed Senior Notes.

With respect to the €279.2 million principal amount outstanding at March 31, 2012 of our Senior Notes, we have commenced efforts to refinance the Senior Notes, and have engaged a financial advisor to assist us in these efforts. The definitive terms of any such refinancing have not yet been determined, and while there can be no assurance that we would be able to complete a refinancing on terms acceptable to us, we believe we will be able to refinance the remaining Senior Notes before their maturity date.

Steven L. Watson, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Our operating and financial results for the first quarter of 2012 were excellent and continued to be driven by customer demand and manufacturing efficiency. We set new records for a first quarter in both production and sales volumes of TiO2 products. Our TiO2 segment profit for the first quarter of 2012 of $212.9 million set a new record and was more than double our segment profit for the first quarter of 2011. We expect our 2012 sales volumes to continue at a higher rate as compared to 2011, and that our 2012 sales volumes will exceed our 2012 production volumes. While the cost of our raw materials is expected to increase significantly in 2012, we believe our segment profit will increase due to higher average selling prices and sales volumes for our TiO2 products. With the constraints and time required to add significant new production capacity, especially for the premium grades of TiO2 products produced through the chloride process, we expect the overall global supply and demand dynamics for TiO2 products that we have experienced since the second half of 2009 will continue for the foreseeable future, with intermittent periods of availability and shortage. As a result, we expect our profitability and cash flows to remain strong in 2012 and beyond."


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