Is Titanium Metals Ready to Fly?

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Titanium may be one of the most underappreciated metals we have. It provides the ping in golf clubs, but titanium has a far more important function: holding airplanes together. So recent demand for aircraft is great news for the titanium industry.

At the Farnborough Airshow near London, Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and EADS subsidiary Airbus have been piling on new orders. At last count, $40 billion worth of airplanes had been ordered. But the biggest winner in all of these deals could be titanium suppliers like Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE  ) and RTI International Metals (NYSE: RTI  ) , which get 50% of their demand from the aerospace industry.

News coming from England is positive, but because Boeing and Airbus delayed the 787 and the A380, respectively, demand for titanium hasn't keep up with supply. These next-generation aircraft are so important because they use far more titanium than older aircraft. For example, the older 777 used only 59 tons of titanium, while the new 787 Dreamliner -- Boeing plans to produce 120 a year -- uses 130 tons to 150 tons.

Anticipating more demand, Titanium Metals increased its melted products capacity by 53% from 2007 to 2009. But delay after delay on new planes and an economic slowdown resulted in capacity utilization falling to 47% from 88% during the same time. Once Boeing's and Airbus' new production hits its stride, demand should pick up the slack over the next few years.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. As exciting as these numbers sound for the titanium industry, there could be pitfalls. Titanium Metals stock is up 150% over the past year, has a forward P/E of more than 30, and may be running out of room to run. Boeing and Airbus have both cut production from anticipated levels, and we could see more delays that would lead to wasted capacity. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel if the aerospace giants hit their targets, but they've disappointed us before.

More on metals:

Fool contributor Travis Hoium doesn't have a position in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Titanium Metals is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1249730, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/21/2016 6:17:46 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:03 PM
BA $135.63 Down -0.21 -0.15%
Boeing CAPS Rating: ****
RTI.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
RTI International… CAPS Rating: **
TIE.DL $16.50 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Titanium Metals CAPS Rating: *****