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Tronox 3Q 2016 results: sales down 7.3% to $533 million, reverses year ago operating loss

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Tronox 3Q 2016 results: sales down 7.3% to $533 million, reverses year ago operating loss

November 03, 2016 - 14:36
Posted in:

STAMFORD, CT, Nov. 2, 2016 (PRNewswire) -Tronox Limited today reported third quarter 2016 revenue of $533 million compared to $575 million in the third quarter 2015 and $537 million in the second quarter 2016.  Income from operations of $25 million improved from an operating loss of $21 million in the year-ago quarter and income from operations of $8 million in the prior quarter.  Net loss attributable to Tronox Limited of $40 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, which included restructuring expense of $1 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, improved from a net loss attributable to Tronox Limited of $60 million, or $0.52 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter and a net loss attributable to Tronox Limited of $50 million, or $0.42 per diluted share in the prior quarter.  Adjusted net loss attributable to Tronox Limited (Non-GAAP) was $39 million, or $0.34 per diluted share.  Adjusted EBITDA of $98 million improved from $81 million in the year-ago quarter and $71 million in the prior quarter.

Tom Casey, chairman and CEO of Tronox, said: "We delivered strong adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow performance in the third quarter.  Our TiO2 business generated additional momentum in the quarter to that generated in the second quarter, driven by higher pigment sales volumes and selling prices on both year-on-year and sequential bases coupled with continued strong operating cost performance.  Our Alkali business returned to adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow levels that overcame and exceeded the series of one-off items that impacted results in the second quarter.  In TiO2, pigment selling prices increased by 6 percent sequentially and were 1 percent above the prior-year quarter.  This increase marks the first time since the third quarter of 2012 that pigment prices were higher on a year-on-year basis.  We continue to match pigment production volumes to sales volumes and keep inventory at or below normal levels.  Moreover, we believe pigment inventories, in the aggregate, are at or below normal levels at both customer and producer locations across the globe resulting in a continued tight supply-demand balance.  Our cash generation performance in the quarter further strengthened our balance sheet, as we closed the quarter with $202 million of cash on hand and liquidity of $470 million."

Third Quarter 2016

Tronox TiO2

TiO2 segment revenue of $339 million was 11 percent lower than $380 million in the year-ago quarter, primarily the result of lower sales volumes for CP titanium slag and pig iron.  Pigment sales of $260 million increased 7 percent compared to $244 million in the year-ago quarter, as sales volumes increased 6 percent and average selling prices increased 1 percent (1 percent on a local currency basis).  Higher sales volumes were realized in North America and Asia-Pacific, while sales volumes in EMEA and Latin America were modestly lower than those in the year-ago quarter.  Selling prices were higher in Asia-Pacific and EMEA, level in Latin America and lower in North America compared to the year-ago quarter.  Titanium feedstock and co-products sales of $64 million were 38 percent lower than $103 million in the year-ago quarter, driven by lower sales volumes for CP titanium slag and pig iron and, to a lesser extent, lower zircon selling prices.  There were no sales of CP titanium slag to third parties in the third quarter compared to significant sales in the year-ago quarter.  Sales volumes for natural rutile were 5 percent lower and selling prices were 8 percent lower.  Zircon sales volumes were 1 percent lower and selling prices were 13 percent lower than the year-ago quarter. Pig iron sales volumes declined 68 percent and selling prices were 13 percent lower.  Lower pig iron sales can be attributed to lower production as last year we suspended the operation of two of our four furnaces in South Africa that produced titanium slag and pig iron.  We continued to operate at these reduced rates during the third quarter.  Pig iron is a by-product of making titanium slag and its selling prices are correlated to market pricing for iron ore.

Compared sequentially, TiO2 segment revenue of $339 million increased 2 percent versus $333 million in the second quarter, driven by higher pigment selling prices.  Pigment sales of $260 million increased 7 percent compared to $244 million in the second quarter, as sales volumes increased 1 percent and selling prices increased 6 percent (6 percent on a local currency basis).  Sales volumes were higher in Europe and Latin America, level in Asia-Pacific and lower in North America.  Selling prices were higher in all regions.  Titanium feedstock and co-products sales of $64 million declined 12 percent compared to $73 million in the second quarter due to lower CP titanium slag sales and lower pig iron sales volumes.  There were no CP titanium slag sales to third parties in the third quarter whereas there were sales in the second quarter.  Zircon sales volumes and selling prices were level to the prior quarter. We expect zircon sales volumes in 2016 to exceed those of 2015 as we continue to ramp up production at our Fairbreeze mine to match market demand.  Natural rutile sales volumes increased 2 percent and selling prices also increased 2 percent.  Pig iron sales volumes declined 51 percent due to the timing of sales and selling prices increased 6 percent.  

TiO2 segment income from operations of $18 million improved from an operating loss of $26 million in the year-ago quarter and income from operations of $6 million in the prior quarter.  With cash provided by operating activities of $117 million and capital expenditures of $23 million, TiO2 delivered free cash flow of $94 million in the third quarter.

TiO2 segment adjusted EBITDA of $75 million increased 29 percent from $58 million in the year-ago quarter driven by higher pigment sales volumes, significant cost reductions resulting from its Operational Excellence program and the favorable impact of foreign exchange on production costs, partially offset by the impact of feedstock production curtailments.  Compared sequentially, adjusted EBITDA of $75 million improved by 27 percent from $59 million in the second quarter, driven by pigment selling price increases, production cost reductions and the benefit of higher pigment production efficiency and plant utilization.

Tronox Alkali

Alkali segment revenue of $194 million compared to $195 million in the year-ago quarter as 3 percent higher sales volumes were offset by 3 percent lower selling prices.  In the domestic market, sales volumes declined 3 percent due to the timing of sales while selling prices increased 1 percent.  In export markets, sales volumes increased 9 percent driven by strong demand in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.  Selling prices in export markets were 7 percent lower, primarily due to lower Asia-Pacific selling prices.  Chinese soda ash producers lowered domestic and export prices in the fourth quarter last year as raw material, shipping and energy cost deflation and currency devaluation lowered their costs.  However, Chinese input costs, such as for coal, have now begun to move upward and there are indications that domestic pricing has also moved upward.  As a result, we anticipate that the pricing environment in Asia will remain level through the rest of the year.

Compared sequentially, Alkali revenue of $194 million decreased 5 percent from $204 million in the second quarter due to the timing of sales in both domestic and export markets.  Sales volumes declined 5 percent and selling prices were level to the second quarter.  Domestic sales volumes declined 6 percent while selling prices were level to the prior quarter.  Export sales volumes declined 4 percent and selling prices were also level to the second quarter.

Alkali segment income from operations of $23 million improved from $21 million in the year-ago quarter and $11 million in the prior quarter.  With cash provided by operating activities of $45 million and capital expenditures of $8 million, Alkali delivered free cash flow of $37 million in the third quarter.

Alkali segment adjusted EBITDA of $40 million compared to $41 million in the year-ago quarter as higher sales volumes, lower production costs and higher production efficiencies essentially offset lower export selling prices.  Compared sequentially, Alkali segment adjusted EBITDA of $40 million improved from $28 million in the second quarter.  Second quarter performance was impacted by items totaling approximately $9 million that did not occur in the third quarter.

Corporate

Corporate loss from operations was $16 million in the third quarter compared to a loss from operations of $16 million in the year-ago quarter and a loss from operations of $9 million in the second quarter.

Corporate adjusted EBITDA was ($17) million compared to adjusted EBITDA of ($18) million in the year-ago quarter and adjusted EBITDA of ($16) million in the prior quarter.  Corporate cash used in operations was $108 million, which included a semi-annual bond interest payment of $50 million.  Capital expenditures were $1 million in the quarter.

Consolidated

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $54 million in the third quarter compared to $55 million in the year-ago quarter and $50 million in the prior quarter.  Interest and debt expense was $46 million in the third quarter compared to $45 million in the year-ago quarter and $46 million in the prior quarter.  On September 30, 2016, gross consolidated debt was $3,055 million, and debt, net of cash and cash equivalents, was $2,853 million.  Liquidity was $470 million including cash and cash equivalents on the balance sheet of $202 million.  Capital expenditures were $32 million and depreciation, depletion and amortization expense was $60 million.

[For the full report and financial tables, click here.]