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Europe's leading masterbatch producers grew slowly

February 29/2012

(plastemart) -- Since a previous edition of "Corporate performance and ownership among masterbatch producers - A review of Europe's 50 largest players", the industry has been through a dramatic period of upheaval caused by the global financial crisis of 2008 compounded by underlying slower growth for masterbatch because of the increasing maturity of the business.

This increasing maturity is evidenced by the limited number of changes to the names of the companies. However, this belies the significant amount of turmoil in the market and major changes in the status of many of the companies listed, with some players cutting back activity and closing plants while others have sought wider or new markets to sustain or grow the size of their business.

The difficult economic environment has also been characterised by variable financial performances in the industry with weaker players seeing margins eroded and their survival threatened, while others have used the opportunity of smaller order size and just in time delivery to improve margins and profitability.

It is also clear that the downturn in Europe of 2008 and 2009 resulted in many companies refocusing on core skills and cutting back peripheral activities. In black masterbatch, for example Cabot significantly altered its involvement in Europe closing a number of plants while building up capacity in other regions of the world. Subsequently an opportunity has emerged for the independent sector which has seen some producers achieve significant growth, even through the recession.

The main winners from this development have been Hubron and Polyplast Muller. Given the challenging economic forecasts for the euro zone it is likely that this changing and refocusing of effort will continue for a number of suppliers into the medium term future. However, new investments are also continuing, especially from the more focussed and well positioned suppliers within Europe and especially in Eastern Europe. For the first time AMI has included the Russian and Ukrainian plants of the leading producers in its analysis. Leading players operating in Russia include Clariant, Plastika Kritis (Global Colors) and Gabriel Chemie while in the Ukraine Tosaf is the manufacturer.

Author:Anna Larionova
Category:General News
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