Titan America: Market conditions, escalating costs quell N.C. greenfield mill

Sources: Titan America LLC, Norfolk, Va.; CP staff

After years of permitting and pre-construction activities, Titan America has shelved plans for a Castle Hayne, N.C., cement plant with up to 2 million tons’ annual capacity, but will maintain a terminal on the site, located just outside the coastal town of Wilmington.

“Our decision is driven by economics,” affirms CEO Bill Zarkalis. “The pace of demand growth in the specific markets does not seem adequate to justify the addition of substantial new production capacity—more so because the costs to construct a new cement plant in the United States have risen substantially in the past few years. The overall risk profile of the project has worsened as new coastal capacity in North Carolina could be vulnerable to cement imports, considering the strong U.S. dollar, global cement supply situation and low ocean freight costs.”

Athens-based parent, Titan Group, “continues to be committed to long-term growth in the United States,” he adds. “Titan America has emerged strong from the unprecedented crisis in the construction industry. We hold leading positions in the markets we operate across the Eastern U.S. and are once again experiencing significant growth, together with our customers. To fuel growth, we are investing in excess of $250 million between 2014 and 2016. Titan America continues to evaluate opportunities for accelerated and sustainable growth. The Castle Hayne option simply does not meet our economic criteria.”

Titan America serves North Carolina customers from its Roanoke, Va., cement plant with an integrated logistics network of distribution terminals, warehouses and 20-plus ready mixed concrete plants. Notes Mid-Atlantic Business Unit President Robert Sells, “North Carolina is an attractive place to do business and we remain committed to continue to grow here. We’ve had operations here for more than 20 years and value our relationships with customers, suppliers and the community overall. All of our existing North Carolina operations will continue to run the way they have; no jobs in these operations will be affected by this decision.”