PITTSBURGH - RTI International Metals Inc. on Thursday delivered an upbeat outlook of its titanium business for the second half of the year and 2013 as it blew past analysts' earnings forecast in its first quarter.
The parent of the RTI Niles titanium mill said it made $5.6 million, or 19 cents per share, on revenue of $162.9 million in the January-March period. Analysts projected 6 cents per share profit and $147.8 million in revenue.
The company earned $2.3 million, or 8 cents per share, on revenue of $120.9 million in the same period of 2011.
RTI shares gained $1.09, or 4.4 percent, Thursday to close at $25.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Titanium mill shipments rose to 4.3 million pounds from 3.1 million pounds a year ago. The average price dipped to $19.14 per pound from $20 a pound, but the backlog ended the quarter at $563 million versus $350 million.
Demand from increased passenger jet production, plus the company's continued diversification, highlighted the quarter.
The company said demand is growing for titanium products as aircraft maker Boeing boosts production of passenger jets, including the 787 Dreamliner. RTI said it expects to see rising demand in the second half of 2012 continuing into 2013.
RTI improved its mix of products in the first quarter by closing on its acquisition of Remmele Engineering and completing the integration of RTI Advanced Forming, a titanium hot forming business.
President and Chief Executive Officer Dawne Hickton said the reaction of key strategic customers to the moves has been "extremely positively."
Remmele's medical device customers have responded with strong support for the purchase, she added.
Hickton said RTI expects operating income for 2012 to finish between $45 million and $50 million, after acquisition-related adjustments.
The company noted it reached agreement during the quarter with United Steelworkers Local 2155 on a new labor contract through June 30, 2018.
The successful negotiations were completed ahead of the expiration of the previous pact's June 30, 2013, expiration. The new contract addresses wages, pensions and profit sharing for 350 union-represented employees at RTI Niles.