The following is a Q&A interview with Argex Titanium Chief Financial Officer and Director Mark Billings
Thanks for speaking with us today Mark, can you tell me about Argex?
Argex Titanium Inc. (TSX: T.RGX, Stock Forum) is a near term producer of titanium dioxide with a patented unique process to produce high purity TiO2 at a low cost. The shares were recently listed on the TSX under the symbol RGX.
What is titanium used for and what’s the demand for it?
The single biggest application for tiO2 is paint and pigments, which represents 60% of the market. Tio2 is also used as a whitener in many other industries including pulp and paper, plastics, food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It is one of the building blocks of our global economy. They latest figures the global industry is at approximately 6.4million tones of TiO2 are consumed a year at current market prices this is approximately a $24Billion industry a year. Demand is projected to increase annually at 2-3% per year.
You recently signed a purchase and collaboration agreement with PPG Industries, the largest paint company in the world; can you tell me about these agreements?
The collaboration agreement will allow Argex to work closely with PPG to produce a final tio2 product that will meet the specifications of the paint industry . This enables us to leverage our innovative process and the extensive industry knowhow of PPG to produce a world-class salable product.
PPG demonstrated its confidence in Argex’s technology with the signature of an off take agreement in June 2013.
Are you targeting any other markets for your titanium
Yes, Argex has strategically decided to focus on the paint industry first because it is by far the largest segment in the industry.Argex is however talking to companies in other segments of the TiO2 market such as plastics, pulp and paper and cosmetics and food.Argex has also identified buyers for the high grade hematite that it will produce for its patented process.
What are the company’s plans moving forward for the remainder of 2013 and into next year?
As recently indicated Argex intends to sign a definitive off take agreement for 25,000 tonnes/yr with the third largest chemical distribution company in the world. Following the release of the results of the companies feasibility study Argex plans to secure approximately 250M in financing for the companies first commercial production facility in Valleyfield. Argex anticipates that most of this financing will come from equipment financing, loan guaranties and debt provided by existing stakeholders in the company.
Why should an investor be thinking about investing in Argex?
Argex represents a unique opportunity in the growing TiO2 industry, It’s unique patent process has the ability to “disrupt” this industry, which has not experienced technical innovation since the 2nd world war. Argex is able to produce TiO2 at both high purity and low cost. To date management has successfully reduced company risk. Once financing has been completed another significant level of risk will be mitigated.
What can an investor look forward to seeing in the next 3 months? 6 months?
They can expect to see our Research and Development facility operational in Valleyfield. Argex also intends to secure financing for the first 50,000 MT module at Valleyfield. Argex will also begin to order equipment with long lead times to advance the company towards production.