German materials producers report declining volume and sales

David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: May 21, 2013 12:13 pm ET
Updated: May 21, 2013 12:15 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers, K 2013

FRANKFURT, GERMANY — In a PlasticsEurope Deutschland briefing last month, the organization's new president Josef Ertl – who is also managing director of Vinnolit – revealed that both production volume and turnover have dropped for German plastic material producers.

After increasing in 2011, volumes fell 3.6 percent to 19.5 million tonnes and turnover dropped 0.8 percent to 25.1 billion euros in 2012.

German companies experienced a mixed performance in the first three quarters, followed by disappointing results in the fourth quarter, said Ertl. The "rapid catching up" that materials producers enjoyed after the economic crisis of 2009 did not continue last year, he said.

The association is expecting modest 1.5 percent growth in volumes in 2013, on account of the difficult economic background and especially the uncertainty surrounding the euro.

Turnover at German materials producers in 2012 fell 0.2 percent to 10.9 billion euros from business in Germany and 0.8 percent to 14.2 billion euros from international business.

Export volumes increased by 0.5 percent to 12.5 million tonnes, while imports fell by 0.4 percent to 8.3 million tonnes. The 27 EU states accounted for 72 percent of exports, and were the source of 87 percent of imports to Germany. This led Ertl to comment: "Europe is and remains our home market."

Italy, France, Poland and the Benelux region were the main export destinations and the main regions from which materials were imported were the Benelux followed by France.

In terms of staffing, the number of employees at plastic material producers fell 1.8 percent to 37,194 in 2012. This contrasts with the 2.4 percent increase in the number of staff in plastics processing companies in 2012. However, Ertl described the fall as "within normal fluctuations".

Plant capacity was "acceptably utilized", but margins remained under pressure because of the high average oil price of $112 per barrel and overall restrained demand.

Packaging accounted for 34.7 percent of plastics consumption in Germany, followed by construction (23 percent), automotive (almost 10 percent) and electrical/electronics applications (6 percent).

2012 turnover in plastic packaging was "relatively stable", falling 0.4 percent, but production volumes declined 1.8 percent because of more efficient material use.

Ertl expressed concern about the recent European Commission green paper on "European strategy for plastic waste in the environment."

He accepted that the commission obviously wants to initiate public debate on how products can be made more sustainable over their entire life cycle, but said that looking just at the waste phase should not disguise the positive effects of using plastics. "And we fear exactly that after reading the green paper," he said.

He pointed out that 99 percent of the 5.4 million tonnes of plastic waste in Germany in 2011was recovered by material recycling and energy recovery.

He also criticized the green paper for suggesting that regulations over plastic waste safety should be covered by future legislation, as this is already covered by Reach and CLP (Classification, Labeling and Packaging) directives.

Ertl said German plastics producers face new competition from the United States because of shale gas. The U.S. will be able to make petrochemicals derived from "enormously cheap" shale gas, which may lead to a permanent change to the plastics map, he said.

He contrasted the favorable situation for materials producers in the United States, where electricity and gas prices have been falling, with the situation facing producers in Germany. Businesses in Germany continue to pay higher electricity prices to finance the development of electricity generation from renewable resources, such as wind, solar and other sources.

Ertl was also critical of opposition to shale gas exploration in Germany, which hampers the country's competitiveness and technological leadership.

Looking ahead in 2013, Ertl said the plastics industry will have its next "litmus paper test" at K 2013, taking place in Düsseldorf in October.


Comments

German materials producers report declining volume and sales

David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: May 21, 2013 12:13 pm ET
Updated: May 21, 2013 12:15 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Indorama's purchase of Sasa to give wider access to multiple markets

April 16, 2014 10:07 am ET

PET maker Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. is expanding in Turkey with the acquisition of a majority of Sasa Polyester Sanayi.    More

Axiall resumes operations at damaged Lake Charles PVC feedstock plant

April 15, 2014 4:41 pm ET

Axiall Corp. has resumed operations at its PVC feedstock plant that was damaged by a fire in December.
More

Image

Power failure shuts down two PE resin units in Texas

April 15, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Two polyethylene resin units operated by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP in Baytown, Texas, were closed from April 8-11 because of a power failure.    More

Shell Chemical to host public meetings to discuss plans in Pennsylvania

April 15, 2014 3:27 pm ET

Shell Chemical LP will host two public meetings on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major petrochemicals plant in the Pittsburgh...    More

Image

Despite struggles, Europe still key market in global resin picture

April 15, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Challenges and opportunities facing international plastics and chemicals markets were tackled by a trio of top executives at the IHS World Petrochemic...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events