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09-19-2011

AMI: PE Film Extrusion Recovers from Recession

Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI), Bristol, U.K., (AMI) has just published the ninth edition of its Guide to The Polyethylene Film Extrusion Industry in Europe. As can be expected with recession hitting Europe in 2008, the PE film extrusion industry took a downturn. Between 2007 and 2009 PE film production fell by 1 million t. About half of this lost volume was recovered during 2010 and the industry continues to make steady progress in 2011. With a volume demand in excess of 7.5 million t for 2010 PE film extrusion still represents one of the largest plastics processing sectors, accounting for 19% of polymer consumption in Europe during 2010.

Inevitably the recession has had an impact on the number of companies operating in Europe. Compared with the previous edition of AMI’s report there are 5% fewer companies listed with France, the UK, Benelux and Scandinavia seeing the greatest decline in numbers. Producers of carrier bags, heavy duty sacks and building films were worst affected while food packaging suppliers generally performed better as there was less contraction in demand from this sector through the downturn.

The PE film industry within Europe has had to adapt to these changing demands which in turn has seen a shift in the importance of end use applications. Stretch film still remains the largest single application in volume terms. This is due to stretch film becoming one of the most cost effective means of protecting goods while they are in transit. The market for bags and sacks has had differing trends between the various sectors. The demand for carrier bags has seen a steady decline due to environmental pressures, incentives for consumers to reuse bags, shops beginning to charge for carrier bags and increasing volumes of imported bags from Asia. In comparison AMI indicate within their guide that the market for refuse sacks has continued to grow driven the move to more recycling and sorting of domestic waste.

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