TITANIUM METALS CORP., one of the world's largest integrated producers of titanium metal products, has formed strategic alliances with two Japanese companies in the same business. The most far-reaching of the deals involves TOHO TITANIUM CO., LTD. It is designed in general to expand the market for titanium products and in particular to promote the development of lower-cost production techniques that will enable titanium to compete better with less-expensive materials. Specifics of the TIMET-Toho Titanium arrangement include the formation of a hearth-melting joint venture in Japan at some unspecified time; a long-term agreement under which the Kanagawa prefecture-headquartered partner, a leading titanium sponge and ingot supplier, will become a key outsider provider of high-purity, super-purity and premium- grade titanium sponge to TIMET; and mutual technology and business development support. Moreover, Denver-based TIMET will acquire up to 10 percent of the outstanding shares of Toho Titanium. Initially, it will purchase a 5 percent stake by buying stock now owned by NIPPON MINING & METALS CO., LTD. and MITSUI & CO., LTD. Together, they have a 54.8 percent interest in Toho Titanium.
Equally important, TITANIUM METALS CORP. has teamed with NIPPON STEEL CORP. to build the market for architectural titanium products by developing lower-cost, higher-quality products. TIMET brings to this job its electron-beam melting technology, while NSC, which is a major producer of titanium products as well as the world's biggest steelmaker, will contribute its finishing capabilities. As a first step, Nippon Steel will provide conversion services for its new partner, making high-quality, finished architectural cladding products from materials supplied by TIMET. These products will be marketed through the American company's worldwide distribution network under the TIMET name.
An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report.