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    World titanium dioxide market to stay bullish in 2018
    ----Interview with Tan Ruiqing
    Vice President, General Manager of Sales and Purchasing Companies
    Lomon Billions Group Co., Ltd.
    As a large inorganic fine chemical corporation, Lomon Billions Group Co., Ltd. focuses on R&D, manufacturing and sales of titanium and zirconium fine powder materials. The company became the fourth largest global titanium dioxide production enterprise after the official combination of its predecessors of Henan Billions Chemical Co., Ltd. and Sichuan Lomon Corporation.

    Asian Metal: First of all, Mr. Tan, thank you very much for accepting this interview from Asian Metal and please give us a brief introduction to the main business of your company.

    Mr. Tan: Lomon Billions Group is a listed company with titanium dioxide series as the pillar industry and its business covers mining and beneficiation, production of zirconium, iron-related products, high titanium slag, scandium-related products, sulfuric acid, etc. The company has formed five production bases in four regions of three provinces, namely, Jiaozuo in Henan, Deyang in Sichuan, Panzhihuan in Sichuan, Xiangyang in Hubei, etc. The company has ranked the fourth among all global titanium dioxide production enterprises with capacity of titanium dioxide, its major product, reaching 700,000tpy.

    Asian Metal: How about your company's titanium dioxide performance in 2017?

    Mr. Tan: Lomon Billions Group produced 600,000t of titanium dioxide in total in 2017, expecting to yield sales income exceeding RMB10 billion.

    Asian Metal: What do you think of the ups and downs on China's titanium dioxide market in 2017?

    Mr. Tan: The fluctuations on titanium dioxide market in China in 2017 are mainly resulted from the low concentration of Chinese titanium dioxide enterprises. There are more than 20 enterprises in production of rutile titanium dioxide in China at present and some of them may lower sales prices for the material facing up with the slack season. However, from the global perspective, the titanium dioxide market remains bullish.

    Asian Metal: In 2017, the Chinese titanium dioxide export market was firm with exports expected to be 800,000t while the domestic market underperformed. How do you explain such difference? Is it related to the overall national economic situation?

    Mr. Tan: The Chinese titanium dioxide export market indeed performed well in 2017 as the overall global economic situation moved on the favorable trend and the demand for titanium dioxide all increased a lot in countries like India, Indonesia and Brazil, etc. However, the demand in China was not so bad. Taking the downstream coating industry as an example, China's total coating output reached 18.9 million tons in 2016 and about 20 million tons in 2017, indicating an increase in demand for titanium dioxide. Meanwhile, titanium dioxide is widely used in fields of plastics, papermaking, ink, etc., facilitating the titanium dioxide economy to shake off from the sole dependence on the real estate industry. As for the underperformance in the domestic market, the reason still laid on the low concentration of Chinese titanium dioxide enterprises and most of their products stayed on the low end of the industrial chain.

    Asian Metal: Some domestic enterprises will start the CR titanium dioxide project in 2018. What do you think of the development trend of the CR titanium dioxide market in China?

    Mr. Tan: I watched a TV series, called "A Native of Beijing in New York", in which a passage vividly describes a situation "If you love her, send her to New York, because it is the heaven there; if you hate her, send her to New York, because it is the hell there." CR titanium dioxide is a good expectation for most Chinese enterprises, just like New York in the eyes of Beijing people. However, when developing this project, an enterprise needs not only technological capability, but also management and capital strength. China has spent nearly 20 years from proposing the construction of CR titanium dioxide production lines to reaching certain scale for the production of the material, which is difficult to imagine.

    Asian Metal: What do you think of the titanium dioxide market in 2018?

    Mr. Tan: The titanium dioxide market will move up steadily in 2018. From the supply side, international titanium dioxide enterprises including Chemours, Tronox, Venator (the previous "Huntsman"), etc. have accumulatively removed titanium dioxide capacity up to 400,000t from 2013 and it is difficult for the total titanium dioxide output to keep pace with the increasing global demand. In terms of raw material, output of Rio Tinto's titanium slag and Iluka's synthetical rutile was on continuous declines before 2016; the raw material demand has been increasing in the past year, but the supply of titanium dioxide's raw material, especially raw material of CR titanium dioxide showed no significant increases. In addition, overseas raw material suppliers are in higher concentration and thus prices for raw material of CR titanium dioxide would hover at high level in short time. Based on the above two factors, the global titanium dioxide market would move up steadily in 2018.

    Asian Metal: How will your company cope with the future market?

    Mr. Tan: Safeguard the profits of shareholders and flexibly deal with market changes.

    Asian Metal: Thanks again for accepting the interview of Asian Metal and wish your company's titanium dioxide business flourishing.

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