(AP) It’s a royal bonanza—but for Britain’s souvenir makers, it’s also a royal headache. The upcoming birth of Prince William and his wife Kate’s first child is a golden opportunity that comes with a mystery: the name and gender of the baby. Sophie Allport, a designer of fine bone china, is one manufacturer waiting for the future monarch’s name to send her commercial plans into motion. She has thousands of pre-orders for hand-crafted commemorative mugs but can’t fill them until the baby’s name can be etched on the rims. She’s as ready as she can possibly be, having prepared both blue and pink designs. When the baby’s name and gender are known, the designs will be delivered to Stoke-on-Trent, the center of Britain’s ceramic industry. The city’s numerous ceramics factories are expected to become a hive of activity following the baby’s arrival, churning out commemorative plates, cups, and mugs. According to Britain’s Centre of Retail Research, royal baby fever is expected to contribute £56 million ($84 million) to the U.K.’s souvenir and memorabilia industry.
(The Buffalo News) Niagara Falls, N.Y., ceramic powder manufacturer TAM Ceramics has signed a preliminary agreement to purchase up to 24,000 tons of zirconia annually from a Labrador mine. TAM signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Toronto-based Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. to purchase zirconia for a five-year term, with options that could extend the deal for as long as 30 years. The agreement would include all zirconia Quest expects to produce from the Strange Lake deposit in western Labrador, the Canadian company said Tuesday. TAM makes zirconia, titanate, and zircon powders that are used in high-temperature furnace linings, brake pads, protective coatings for molten metal casting and welding consumables.
(PRNewswire) The Board of Directors of Carbo Ceramics Inc. approved an increase in the company’s quarterly dividend to $0.30 per common share, or $1.20 per common share on an annualized basis. This represents an increase of 11 percent over Carbo’s previous quarterly dividend, and marks the thirteenth consecutive year the Company has increased its dividend to shareholders. Carbo is an oilfield services technology company providing production enhancement and environmental solutions, including fracture simulation software and ceramic proppants.
A ceramic cup and mug manufacturing machinery liquidation has been announced by Mohr Corp., Brighton, Mich., on behalf of Hartstone Ceramics at its Zanesville, Ohio, facility. Mohr has been contracted exclusively for sale of the late-model ceramic machinery engineered and manufactured in the UK by Service Engineers, Jack Beaumont Kilns and Ferro TemTek kilns in the US, and other leading ceramic machinery providers. Announced July 15, the sale and removal of all machinery is expected to be completed by September. Other manufacturing operations of Hartstone will continue during the sale.
(Bloomberg News) Iluka Resources Ltd. (Perth, Australia) says zircon sales will exceed production this year amid strong demand in China and North America, and on signs of a recovery in Europe’s ceramics sector. The company says sales through June 30 rose 143 percent compared with the same period a year ago to 210,900 metric tons. A statement cited rising demand in China as a major reason for the increase, although growth in China, the biggest zircon consumer, slowed to 7.5 percent in April-to-June, a June 15 National Bureau of Statistics report showed. Increased demand in the European ceramics sector could also be fragile, Iluka says. “Iluka remains of the view that forecasting demand for both zircon and titanium dioxide remains challenging, due to factors such as the volatility of global and regional economic performance and associated business confidence levels,” according to the statement. Zircon prices stabilized in the first half of 2013 but “increased slightly towards the end of the half,” it added.