Web Date: November 15, 2007
Millennium Will Close Titanium Dioxide Plant
Millennium Inorganic Chemicals will close its titanium dioxide plant in Le Havre, France, with the loss of 287 jobs. The shutdown is the first major action taken by the company since it was acquired in February by Saudi Arabian titanium dioxide producer Cristal.
Millennium bought the plant in 1997 and says it has invested roughly $130 million since then. Despite the investments, the company says, the plant has accumulated losses of nearly $230 million.
At the end of 2003, the business was declared an impaired asset by external auditors, and the financial condition of the plant has continued to deteriorate despite what the company describes as "considerable efforts of management and employees."
Last year, losses topped $50 million and a similar result is expected for this year, Millennium says. The poor performance, it adds, reflects the long-term decline in sales prices for the pigment, persistent increases in production costs, and an excess of titanium dioxide production capacity in the world market.
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