Thiokol Corp. - a leader in Utah's manufacturing sector for 40 years - announced Tuesday that it will change its name to Cordant Technologies Inc.
The company said the new name also will bring a changed New York Stock Exchange symbol of CDD, effective May 7.James R. Wilson, chairman and chief executive of the company, said during a Tuesday conference call that the name change is designed to better serve the former Thiokol's three major component companies.
The three companies are Thiokol Propulsion, the Northern Utah-based manufacturer of solid rocket systems; Howmet International, which makes cast parts for aerospace and commercial applications and is 62 percent owned by Cordant; and Huck International, a manufacturer of aerospace and transportation fastening systems.
"We are not diminishing or abandoning the Thiokol name," Wilson said. "It is the heritage of our company and the name by which many of our most demanding customers know us. It is a powerful brand name and a recognized market leader."
Thiokol Propulsion, as well as Huck - based in Tucson, Ariz. - and Howmet - based in Greenwich, Conn. - will continue to operate under their current names, he said, but they will be referred to as Cordant Technologies companies.
And Wilson said the company is proceeding with its plans to move its Ogden headquarters and 100 employees to downtown Salt Lake City in late June or early July.
"That will be the (Cordant Technologies) corporate office," Wilson said. "There really will be no change from the customer's perspective or the employee's perspective in the Thiokol Propulsion operations."
Wilson said the new name emphasizes technology, which is the common theme of Cordant's existing businesses and those it may acquire. The name itself is a derivative of the word "concordant," which he said means harmonious.
"We thought that was suggestive of a company that works closely with its employees and customers to achieve shared goals," Wilson said.
He said the decision to broaden the company's corporate identity is part of an overall business strategy that has been evolving since the early 1990s.
"We recognized that it was difficult to grow a company that was dependent on one basic product line - solid rocket propulsion systems - and one market - the government - even though this business has performed well," Wilson said. "So, in 1991, we acquired Huck and in 1997 completed the acquisition of additional shares of Howmet to give us majority ownership."
As Thiokol Corp., the company recently reported net income of $32.8 million, or 87 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31. Sales for the nine-month period ended March 31 were $1.15 billion, up 81 percent from the previous year, with 57 percent from Howmet, 28 percent from Thiokol and 15 percent from Huck.
Cordant has more than 16,000 employees in North America, Europe and Asia, including more than 3,000 at its Utah propulsion operations.
Thiokol Chemical Corp. was formed in 1929 as the result of a lab experiment that produced the world's first synthetic rubber. The company eventually moved its focus to small-scale rocket operations, and it bought land 25 miles west of Brigham City in 1956 to build a $3 million rocket motor plant.
Among the company's more famous products are the Peacekeeper missile and space shuttle booster motors.