29 March 1999 17:00 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Aramid fibres should see the biggest percentage growth in the slowing European high-strength speciality fibres market, where sales are forecast to increase from $1.62bn (Euro1.50bn) last year to about $1.95bn (1998 prices) by 2005, according to a report* from consultant Frost & Sullivan.
It said demand for specialty high-strength fibres is being driven by the woven goods market but cautioned that the slowing automobile sector would dampen overall growth rates. It added that recent acquisitions, such as Hoechst Trevira becoming KoSa and the Akzo Nobel's fibres business demerging as Acordis, would change the competitive situation, but production levels are not expected to change.
"In the short term," says the report, "these changes are unlikely to have an impact on the industrial markets or market share."
Robert Peacock, an industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan, said: "As regards the most active market segment, aramid fibres represent the market with the high growth and the potential for continued growth throughout developing markets."
He said growth rates of 7%-8% were expected to drive the European aramid fibres market, which last year sold 12 800 tonne for a revenue of $222m. The consultant forecasts that aramid will take 18% of revenues in the specialty high-strength fibres market by 2005 but sales income will be dominated by polyester (27%), polyamide (22%), polypropylene (PP) (21%). Revenues from rayon fibres are expected to be about 12% of the total.
"Good growth" rates are also forecast for PP and polyester products, such as geotextiles, as well as nylon sales for airbags. Industry sources surveyed by Frost & Sullivan declined to quantify the forecast increases but Peacock said the overall revenue growth rate for PP the market is expected to be about 1% from the 1998 level of nearly $375m for 163 200 tonne. Peacock said the overall PP market growth rate would be slowed by poor sales of ropes and nets offsetting better geotextile prospects.
He added: "The situation in the fibre market in Europe is expected to remain tough over the next few years. Economic growth in the region is expected to slow during 1999, with the automobile industry expected to show little, if any, real growth overall."
* The European Market for Speciality High-Strength Fibres (Report 3578), price $3950, available from Frost & Sullivan: Tel +44 171 915 7824; fax +44 171 730 3343.
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