The dust has settled. The exhibitors and public have gone home. But Plastimagen México 2014, the 19th edition of the show first held in the Mexican capital in 1987, is, it would seem, the new benchmark for Latin America's plastics industry.
Held over four days in the third week of November, it was a busy, dynamic event, with every one of the 850 available booths sold out. It attracted in the region of 30,000 visitors, although show organizer E.J. Krause de México SA de CV has yet to publish the final figure.
Even E.J. Krause's optimistic pre-show prediction that deals valued at $120 million would be completed at the show appeared plausible by the end, such were the positive vibes emanating from many of the stands.
Most exhibitors that I talked to at the show expressed their delight at the seriousness and seniority of the potential buyers who visited.
The Mexican government's stuttering response to public demands for greater police protection from criminal gangs operating across Mexico may be the cause of national anguish, but its ability to encourage and attract direct foreign investment is certainly not.
Francisco de Caso, president of national plastics industry association Anipac, expects Mexico's plastics processing industry to grow by between 4.5 and 6 percent this year.
José Navarro Meneses, E.J. Krause de México's managing director, said he and his team personally visited the plastics communities of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador earlier in the year to promote the show. They also organized plant tours for journalists in Mexico to drum up interest in plastics among Mexican news media and hosted a pre-show news conference.
In addition, E.J. Krause increased the number of international pavilions at Plastimagen México from 11 to 13 and included German and British pavilions for the first time.
“We've been trying to get a German pavilion for several years,” Navarro said. “We had lunch with them [the German delegation] today. They are very pleased with the show and will be back in 2016 with an even larger delegation.”
Former Anipac President Eduardo de la Tijera praised the show's size and some of its “splendorous” stands but was critical of the size of the Chinese pavilion with its 91 companies and of the show's directory of exhibitors, whose text he found difficult to read.
He also asked in his Carta al Industrial newsletter why E.J. Krause was organizing Plastimagen Norte in Monterrey, northern Mexico, in early February, 10 weeks after Plastimagen México 2014 and a few weeks before NPE 2015 in Orlando, Fla.
“To be truthful, I don't understand it and it appears to me an expense that's difficult to justify.”
For its part, E.J. Krause spokesman Arturo Morales de la Campa did not address the criticism, but said “The event was a great success in our opinion.”
Stephen Downer is Plastics News' Mexico City-based correspondent.