Cristal buyer outlines Humber site's 'important role in Tronox'

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 15 Apr 2019

Tronox’s top team will visit their new Europe-leading asset on the South Humber Bank in the coming months, after completing the deal to buy-out Cristal.

The US-based chemicals giant sealed the long drawn out acquisition last week, after Stateside authorities accepted a separate domestic sell-off deal to quell anti-competition concerns.

Tronox brought forward the option to divest the Saudi Arabian company’s facilities in Ohio, with Ineos taking it on, in a move that further strengthened the role Stallingborough will play in the new entity. 

Jeffry N Quinn, president and chief executive, said the deal was a transformative game-changer, and welcomed the addition of the sprawling site.

“This is exciting news,” he said, speaking about the completion and the integration that started as soon as the announcement was made. 

“Stallingborough is now part of the world’s largest vertically integrated producer of titanium dioxide, and I, with other members of the executive team, are planning to visit in the summer to discuss Stallingborough’s important role in Tronox moving forward.”  

The £1.27 billion deal was agreed 777 days ago, back in February 2017, and with both companies having operations in several global locations, consents were required in several geographical regions. 

The European conditions saw a Dutch plant divested too, with clearance given in all other areas. 

There are 400 directly employed staff and contractors working at Stallingborough, led by former apprentice Gavin Jones, who was appointed as interim site head at the turn of the year. It has an annual production capacity of 165,000 tonnes of titanium dioxide, and is the largest of its type in Europe, and the third largest of the nine plants now owned by Tronox. 

Only Hamilton, US, at 225,000 tonnes and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, 200,000 tonnes, eclipse it, with directors underlining the importance of a global spread to reduce delivery time on a conference call.

A total of 29 per cent of the new entity’s custom is in Europe, with Botlek in Holland offering a capacity of 90,000 tonnes and Thann in France providing 32,000 tonnes. It is aiming for 92 per cent to 94 per cent utilisation of the entire 650,000 tonne capacity.

Stallingborough started as Laporte back in the summer of 1953, as post-war industrialisation kicked on with the Humber bank’s flat nature, immediate access to water, ports and rail, all proving attractive. It became SCM in 1984, then had brief tenures as Lyondell then Millennium, before the Saudi swoop in 2007.

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