Extrusion International 2-2021

12 Extrusion International 2/2021 INDUSTRY NEWS „ Turbulence on Europe’s polymer markets is hitting plastics processors in the region with full force. Sufficient quantities of granulate are unavailable and prices have risen significantly since the beginning of the year, with some approaching all- time highs. Plastics Information Europe (PIE) reports that production bottlenecks for plastics and their intermediate products have in some cases cut the quantity available by up to half of the amount normally on the market. In Europe, polymer produc- ers are currently dealing with 13 forces majeures, 11 system malfunctions, 22 slowdowns and 24 maintenance shutdowns. At the same time, plastics goods producers face significantly lower imports from Asia, the Middle East and the US. Resin prices in the Far East have outpaced those in Europe for months, which has redirected much of the global flow of raw plastics from Europe to Asia. The combination of reduced supply and increasing demand is boosting prices for plastic granulate at an unprecedented rate. Depending on type, materials currently cost 20 to 50% more than at the beginning of 2021. This shift poses major economic difficulties for plastics processors, who often have long-term contracts with their customers. Clauses for cost in- creases can only cushion the problems to a limited extent, due to the speed of price hikes. Plastics Market Turbulence Plastics Information Europe www.pieweb.com „ The cooperation between the Cologne-based company BIO- FED and Febo S.p.A., which was already started in 2016, will be further intensified in 2021. In addition to the exclusively for Italy and extension for Febo´s subsidiary Febo 3R, the distribu- tor will now also receive exclusive distribution rights for the Greek market for Febo Hellas. BIO-FED produces and sells biodegradable and/or biobased plastic compounds. Furthermore, the company has a state-of- the-art R&D department that is focused on innovation. “The market for bioplastics has grown significantly in recent years, especially in southern European countries, due to the relevant legislation,” says Dr Stanislaw Haftka, Sales Director at BIO-FED. “With Febo, we have a competent and experienced partner at our side in these regions who can take over our extensive cus- tomer base and provide individual on-site support,” Haftka continues. “By working with BIO-FED, Febo can better meet the needs of the growingmarket every day, focusing evenmore on sustain- able products,” says Febo S.p.A.’s Sales and Marketing Man- ager Cristiano Micheletti. Febo will distribute the complete M•VERA ® product range for blown film extrusion, injection moulding and extrusion appli- Cooperation Intensified BIO-FED, Zweigniederlassung der AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH www.bio-fed.com FEBO S.P.A. www.febo.it cations in Italy and Greece, as well as the matching biodegrad- able AF-Eco ® biomasterbatches. M•VERA ® compounds for other processing technologies are currently under develop- ment. BIO-FED and Febo are optimistic that this cooperation will create new synergies and more opportunities in a market that is constantly evolving and growing. Supply bottlenecks for materials are also endangering the production of end-products made of plastics. Isolated reports from the plastic packaging sector talk about limited delivery capabilities. In earlyMarch, awebinar held by PIE’s sister publicationKunst- stoff Information (KI, Germany; www.kiweb.de ) about the price and quantity situation provided insight into the current circumstances. More than 700 participants from across the plastics industry signed on to hear from experts and take part in a Q&A session. Of the more than 400 plastics processors on hand for the discussions, 77% admitted that they were affect- ed by turbulence on the plastics markets, and 44% said the im- pact has been either severe or very severe. Almost half of the end producers said they were facing production downtimes due to the shortage of materials. Little chance for improve- ment seems forthcoming: some 70% of plastics processors said the market situation will not normalise before the third quarter. Webinar participants from the plastics and chemical production industries were even more pessimistic: 64% said market normalisation was due in the third quarter, with 29% saying it will take until the final three months of 2021. There is, however, one consolation for plastics processors: Competingmaterials such as steel and paper are also currently struggling with difficult market developments. And in many application areas, as the pandemic has shown, plastics are sim- ply irreplaceable. CristianoMicheletti, Sales and MarketingManager at FeboS.p.A. Dr. StanislawHaftka, SalesDirector at BIO-FED