European sheet market shows steady growth

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  • PS accounts for 1.2 million tonnes of polymer used in European sheet production
  • 1% increase in market for 2015
  • Germany accounts for one quarter of European sheet production

The European sheet market is predicted to see a steady 1% increase across Europe for the next five years as well as the increasing use of PP, according to a new market study of market research company Applied Market Information (AMI).

Germany accounts for one quarter of European sheet production

Although sheet manufacturing is struggling in Italy, France and Spain, Germany, which is the largest market, accounting for almost one-quarter of European sheet production in 2015 and Central Europe, are both steadily increasing. In particular Poland’s sheet market was up nearly 4% in 2015 thanks to its increasing role as a regional centre for food processing and packaging and a recovery in its building industry.

PS accounts for 1.2 million tonnes of polymer used in European sheet production

Developments have also been seen in regards to the polymers used in sheet production. Traditionally polystyrene is the most used polymer, accounting for 1.2 million tonnes in 2015, or 31% of the total market. However, its market share has been steadily eroded due to competitive pressures from PP and PET in the thermoformed packaging sector, offering improved transparency (in the case of PET) and better barrier properties (PP), as well as better supply options, greater resin developments and less pricing volatility.
The popularity of PP in the growing German market is another significant reason for its increased use as well as the fact it can give a lighter pot where barrier properties are required thus attracting lower levies in line with the DSD (Der Grune Punkt) packaging regulation. It is also important in the UK where trays and cups are frequently used for heating up food products in microwaves.

1% increase in market for 2015

Market developments in 2015 meant the sheet market slowly recovered, growing by a further 1%, a level that is projected to continue in 2016.

AMI’s directory of sheet extruders in Europe provides information on 749 sheet extruding sites, a 2.6% increase from the previous edition, reflecting the steady growth across Europe. It is the most comprehensive list of thermoplastics sheet extruders in Western and Central Europe, extruding for the food, non-food packaging, industrial and construction markets as well as giving the sites which thermoform the sheet they produce themselves. Included are major players RPC (PP food packaging), Bilcare (PVC rigid sheet), Klöckner Pentaplast (PVC + PET), among others.

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