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Timet boosts PCC but press woes persist

Keywords: Tags  Precision Castparts, Timet, Wyman-Gordon, Mark Donegan, castings, aerospace, titanium, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC) saw a 23.2-percent jump in net income in its fiscal fourth-quarter 2013 thanks to the contribution of its new Titanium Metals Corp. (Timet) unit, even as PCC continues to deal with problems at a key forging press.

The Portland, Ore.-based producer of investment castings, forgings and airframe products posted net income of $414.2 million in the three months ended March 31, up from income of $336.1 million logged in the same quarter a year prior. Net sales of $2.44 billion were up from net sales of $1.95 billion in fiscal fourth-quarter 2012.

For the full year, PCC’s income was $1.43 billion vs. income of $1.22 billion in 2012 on sales of $8.38 billion vs. $7.2 billion in the same comparison.

PCC acquired Dallas-based titanium producer Timet in December for $2.9 billion (, Nov. 9).

Chairman and chief executive officer Mark Donegan said during a quarterly earnings call that "inefficiencies" at a 29,000-ton forging press at PCC’s Houston operation haven’t yet been fixed and that the operation probably won’t be back to normal until the "back half" of the company’s fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2014.

Last year, the Houston press was one of three key presses responsible for "significant headwinds" in the form of maintenance outages (, Oct. 25) resulting in a sales shortfall of $98 million to $100 million in its first fiscal quarter, the company said.

PCC executives said at the time that it took two and a half weeks longer than the five weeks originally forecast to return the Houston press to service. They blamed components that were expected to have a lifespan of 20 years but instead lasted only five, forcing PCC to temporarily "de-rate" the press back to its original 25,000-ton rating and offload work designated for the 29,000-ton press to a 35,000-ton press at its Wyman-Gordon unit in Grafton, Mass.

Donegan said this week that the press’s rating will be restored to 29,000 tons after PCC’s second fiscal quarter, during which it will be down for eight weeks. He noted that all major assets in PCC’s forging products group will be down for two weeks this summer, including Timet, for "overall maintenance and repair."

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