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RTI sees profits hold steady in first quarter

Keywords: Tags  RTI International Metals, Dawne Hickton, titanium, titanium spot market, defense market, sequestration, titanium mill products, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — RTI International Metals Inc. saw flat profits in the first quarter, but the company expects improvement as the commercial aerospace sector ramps up in the second half.

The Pittsburgh-based titanium producer, fabricator and distributor posted first-quarter net income of $5.66 million vs. $5.63 million in the same period last year on sales that jumped 21.3 percent to $187.47 million from $154.57 million.

First-quarter titanium mill product shipments were flat year on year at 4.3 million pounds, and RTI’s average realized price on mill products held fairly steady at $19.35 per pound vs. $19.41 a year earlier.

Vice chairwoman, president and chief executive officer Dawne S. Hickton said the company’s first-quarter results reflected the "somewhat subdued" commercial aerospace market, but RTI expects this sector to ramp in the second half of the year.

"Powerful trends that have produced record order backlogs for new commercial aircraft remain intact," Hickton said. "In our titanium segment, we continue to see strong ordering to support our Airbus (SAS) mill product contract, and in our engineered products and services group the Boeing 787 program is continuing to ramp as we expected toward a 10-ship-set run rate by the end of the year."

Hickton said that the federal budget sequestration had not turned out to be the "nightmare" that some had expected, and the defense market had been, "interestingly enough, relatively stable." The company does not expect the sequester to have "any significant impact" on its business this year, she said.

Meanwhile, RTI has seen "de minimus" business in the titanium spot market, Hickton said.

RTI’s titanium segment generated first-quarter operating earnings of $11 million on sales of $115.1 million vs. operating earnings of $11.8 million on sales of $111.3 million a year earlier. Operating earnings by its engineered products and services segment totaled $12.2 million on sales of $104.5 million vs. operating earnings of $12.1 million on sales of $85.9 million a year ago.

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