LOS ANGELES RTI
International Metals Inc. is unconcerned about the impact on
its own business of reported price-cutting in the titanium spot
RTI has seen "some
very aggressive opportunistic approaches" in the spot market
that appear geared toward landing orders for shipment "before
year-end," vice chairwoman, president and chief executive
officer Dawne S. Hickton said. However, she stressed that this
does not factor into RTIs overall strategy and has little
relevance for the Pittsburgh-based producer, distributor and
perspective, "theres really not a lot of activity in the
spot market," Hickton said, emphasizing that the company is
"more focused on our long-term relationships" instead of
chasing "one-off" business at discounted prices.
Spot titanium prices
have been declining for the better part of this year, according
to industry sources. However, most titanium shipped by major
producers to the domestic aerospace industry is not sold in the
spot market. Instead, it is sold through multi-year, long-term
supply agreements between mills and their original equipment
customers in the airframe and engine industry, where pricing
often is negotiated beforehand or is dependent on various
economic and commodity indices, according to industry
The sources noted that
RTI is not normally considered a significant spot player for
the products seen as most vulnerable to movement, such as
standard 6-aluminum/4-vanadium ingot and bar.
RTIs total mill
product shipments next year will improve only "modestly" from
an estimated 16.5 million pounds this year, Hickton said. While
she sees an "accelerating" ramp-up into 2015 due mainly to
growing commercial aircraft demand, there is nevertheless
"uncertainty" connected with RTIs role as the primary
source of mill products for Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin
Corp.s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
for the F-35 this year will fall below the earlier forecast of
2 million pounds, due not only to delays resulting from the
recent government shutdown but the "uncertainty that continues
to surround sequestration."
Hickton said RTI is
now maintaining a "wait-and-see" attitude based on the outcome
of "headwinds" whose effect is still unclear. "Will we get
there and maybe even catch up with what we lost this year or,
alternatively, will we see January budget shutdowns and
questions about sequestration?"
"short-term ordering delays," Hickton does not think the impact
on the F-35 is permanent, and RTI sees "a lot of support" for
the program. "Its really just the timing of when we get
the orders in," she said.