Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: KRO) (Kronos), incorporated in Delaware in 1989, is a leading global producer and marketer of value-added titanium dioxide pigments, or TiO2, a base industrial product used in a wide range of applications. We, along with our distributors and agents, sell and provide technical services for our products to approximately 4,000 customers in 100 countries with the majority of sales in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. We believe we have developed considerable expertise and efficiency in the manufacture, sale, shipment and service of our products in domestic and international markets.
TiO2 is a white inorganic pigment used in a wide range of products for its exceptional durability and its ability to impart whiteness, brightness and opacity. TiO2 is a critical component of everyday applications, such as coatings, plastics and paper, as well as many specialty products such as inks, food and cosmetics. TiO2 is widely considered to be superior to alternative white pigments in large part due to its hiding power (or opacity), which is the ability to cover or mask other materials effectively and efficiently. TiO2 is designed, marketed and sold based on specific end-use applications.
TiO2 is the largest commercially used whitening pigment because it has a high refractive rating, giving it more hiding power than any other commercially produced white pigment. In addition, TiO2 has excellent resistance to interaction with other chemicals, good thermal stability and resistance to ultraviolet degradation. Although there are other white pigments on the market, we believe there are no effective substitutes for TiO2 because no other white pigment has the physical properties for achieving comparable opacity and brightness or can be incorporated in as cost-effective a manner. Pigment extenders such as kaolin clays, calcium carbonate and polymeric opacifiers are used together with TiO2 in a number of end-use markets. However, these products are not able to duplicate the opacity performance characteristics of TiO2 and we believe these products are unlikely to have a significant impact on the use of TiO2.