European tube market stable despite difficult business environment
Despite experiencing difficult economic conditions, European tube production remained stable in the first half of 2015. The member companies of etma, reported almost the same total production in the first six months of the current year as was reported for the first half of 2014.
Despite experiencing difficult economic conditions, European tube production remained stable in the first half of 2015. The member companies of etma, the European tube manufacturers association, reported almost the same total production in the first six months of the current year as was reported for the first half of 2014.
“Overall, demand can be seen as positive,” says etma Secretary General Gregor Spengler. “Production remained at the previous year’s level despite the ongoing financial crisis in Greece, some economies in the eurozone continuing to flag and the uncertain situation in Russia and the Ukraine with its associated economic sanctions. Overall, this result is therefore satisfactory and it fills me with confidence regarding the future development of the European tube market. I also interpret the expectations of most member companies as being cautiously optimistic.”
The lower-than-expected economic growth in the so-called BRIC countries will hardly have any effect on demand because the lion’s share of etma members’ tube production remains in Europe.
The shares of the individual end-user markets for tubes showed barely any change. Demand from the toothpaste sector was somewhat stronger than during the corresponding last year’s period. However, all other important tube markets, such as the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries and industrial and domestic applications, reported only marginal changes. Laminate tubes showed a positive development compared with the first half of 2014, whereas demand for plastic tubes declined slightly. Production figures for aluminium tubes remained almost unchanged year-on-year.
Although overall the sector is still satisfied with the stable demand, the prices for individual raw materials and other materials are definitely giving cause for concern according to etma members. In particular the prices for the plastics used (PE and PP) have increased strongly since the beginning of the year. Among the reasons for this were some cases of plastics producers invoking force majeure clauses. These led in part to considerable delivery bottlenecks and as a consequence to marked price increases for laminates, plastic granules and last but not least for closures and caps as well.
“The trend towards ever smaller lot sizes and shorter ordering and delivery times is also continuing,” observes etma President Dr Monika Kopra-Schäfer. “At the same time, clients are placing ever greater demands on the design, decoration and finish of the tubes. Nevertheless, as we have shown impressively in previous years, which were not easy years either, the European tube industry is well positioned here. Our etma member companies in particular were able to further develop their good position by means of more efficient production, investments in innovative technologies and continual optimisation of process chains.”