Three more U.S. unsaturated polyester suppliers have announced price increases.
Ashland Chemical Co. on Nov. 14 announced it will raise the prices for all its unsaturated polyester and vinyl ester resins 2-4 cents per pound effective Dec. 1.
The Dublin, Ohio-based company cited rising regulatory and freight costs as the reason for the price increase.
Alpha/Owens Corning LLC of Collierville, Tenn., announced on Nov. 18 it would raise prices 2-3 cents per pound Dec. 15.
AOC business manager Reagan Stephens said recent price hike announcements for important feedstocks styrene and maleic anhydride spurred his firm's decision to raise its prices.
McWhorter Industries Inc. of Carpentersville, Ill., also plans to raise prices 2 cents per pound starting Jan. 1, Douglas Graff, McWhorter's vice president for composites, said Nov. 19.
``There's justification for [a price increase],'' Graff said. ``Maleic anhydride is the most obvious raw material problem.''
Though Graff expected raw material costs would drop in 1997, he said ``that never materialized.''
Reichhold Chemicals Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C., earlier announced a similar price increase effective Dec. 1, while Cook Composites and Polymers Co. of Kansas City, Mo., set Jan. 1 as the effective date of its own 2 cent to 3 cent hike for unsaturated polyester resins and gel coats.
An official at Minneapolis-based Interplastic Corp. said Nov. 18 that his company was considering a price increase, but had not yet made a decision.
Industry sources say price increase attempts most suppliers made in February and August were largely unsuccessful.
At least one composites consultant has some doubts about suppliers successfully raising prices this time around.
``It's been very hard for anybody in any industry — from corrugated cardboard to sheet metal — to get a price increase through all year long,'' Joseph McDermott, president of Composite Services Inc. of Cresskill, N.J., said.
``Suppliers deserve a price increase,'' McDermott said, noting ``margins have not been that great for suppliers.''
But he added processors also need to command higher prices for their products.
``Look at the value of the products,'' he said. ``When you add the reinforcements with the resin, you really do get two plus two equaling five. The industry has to do a better job of convincing end users of that.''