By the end of 2014, almost 300,000 kilometres of drinking water and natural gas pipe will be installed in Europe, according to the new edition of the study Pressure Pipes for Water and Gas - the European Market, which has just been completed by Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI Consulting).
Figure 1:Trend in installed volume of pressure pipes
Pipes for water supply and distribution represented more than 70% of that volume, with the balance being gas transmission and distribution pipes.
Between 2007 and 2013, the European demand for pressure pipes has lost roughly a fifth of the volume. Demand is expected to grow between 2014 and 2018, as the European construction industry recovers. However, 2018 volumes will remain below those registered in 2007, when demand peaked.
In addition, Europe will see a lot of variability, with some markets performing very poorly, while others will exhibit a relatively robust recovery.
The study covers 31 European countries (the 28 European Union members, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland). In terms of pipe systems, it recognises polyethylene pipes (PE80, PE100, PE100RC), PVC (including modified and oriented PVC) and ductile iron pipes. In addition to demand in each country, it looks at the supply side, as well as at the market for raw materials.
Plastic pipes continue to gain market share from ductile iron pipes, but there are market sectors in which the latter maintain strong positions. In addition, inter-polymer competition is driving fast changes in demand for the various plastic pipes systems.
A certain degree of consolidation has occurred on the supply side: the market share of the top 10 pressure pipes manufacturing groups has increased from circa 50% in 2010 to 57% in 2014. Nevertheless, the supply continues to be relatively fragmented, with a large number of small players serving local markets.
Competition among European resin manufacturers is growing in intensity. Strong regulation and standardisation prevent such competition from negatively affecting the quality and performance of products; on the flip side, however, this drives a level of commoditisation product differentiation becomes considerably more difficult to achieve.
This does not mean, however, that differentiation cannot be generated. The key factor remains new product development. Progress in technology continues, in terms of manufacturing processes, component and system design, installation techniques, etc. New, improved raw material grades have also been developed, providing solutions to evolving market needs. Although reputed to be conservative, this market actually has a good track record of embracing and rewarding valuable innovation.
For further details, please contact:
Noru Tsalic, Senior Vice President
Tel: +44 (0) 117 314 8143, Fax: +44 (0)117 311 1534