Aerospace, lower material costs drive RTI growth

RTI International Metals, which operates a titanium manufacturing plant in Weathersfield Township, on Thursday reported that continued growth in the aerospace industry coupled with lower costs have driven sales and operating income improvements in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Dawne Hickton, vice chair, president and CEO of RTI, told investors and media that customers Boeing and Airbus, serviced by manufacturing at the Weathersfield plant, are basing future plans on what they have described as a continuing historic ramp up of air passenger traffic expected during the next 20 years.

Hickton reported aerospace companies also are continuing to count on titanium materials in the design of aircraft models in the future as they plan to replace aging aircraft.

In her report broadcast during the regular quarterly conference call, Hickton said a backlog of approximately 10,000 aircraft exists “with a total of approximately 30,000 airplanes needed to meet the forecasted growth in passenger traffic over the next 20 years.”

The third quarter net sales increased $14 million, or 8 percent to $196.5 million, compared to 2012 third quarter net sales of $182.5 million.

Titanium mill product shipments were reported at 4 million pounds at an average price of $18.57 per pound, compared to 4.2 million pounds at an average price of $19.01 per pound for the same period last year.

Hickton said she expects 2014 to be modestly better than 2013. “We do expect mill volumes to only modestly improve,” she said.

RTI specializes in advanced titanium manufacture for the aerospace, defense, medical and energy industries. The Pittsburgh-based company employs more than 350 employees at its plant in Weathersfield.