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THE PROFILE INDUSTRY IN EUROPE - FRAMED BY AMI

AMI, Bristol, 19/02/15 — Plastics industry consultants, Applied Market Information Ltd., has just published the latest in its authoritative plastics processing series, detailing the plant locations and activities of Europe"s thermoplastic profile extruders. This sector accounts for around 1.8m tonnes of polymer in Europe involving just over 900 companies and AMI"s new directory gives information on their products, technologies and capacities.

The profile extrusion sector covered in AMI"s directory primarily relates to the manufacture of rigid profiles for the production of window, door and conservatory frames. However, there are also a variety of other products that can be manufactured by this process including shutters, cladding, decking, furniture and automotive components, trunking, curtain tracks and a variety of other miscellaneous consumer, industrial and building products. As such it is primarily a sub-market of the PVC industry and AMI estimates that over 90% of production is in PVC. The remainder of the market is mainly accounted for by polyethylene materials with some small volumes of polypropylene, polystyrene, TPEs, engineering plastics and Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC) also used.

The report covers producers of both rigid and flexible profiles. Rigid profiles: mainly based on unplasticised PVC are primarily used in building applications and include window frames, door frames, sills, barge boards, cladding, decking, shutters and blinds, skirting boards and trunking. Non-building applications are less significant but the market for furniture drawer frames is an important application which has been stimulated by the growth of mass-merchandised self-assembly furniture.

Flexible profiles: mainly based on plasticised PVC, polyolefins or thermoplastic elastomers, are offered for a wide range of small trim and sealing applications mostly to specifications determined by the end user in automotive, domestic appliance and other related end use markets.

The largest share of the market is accounted for by the manufacture of window and building profiles. Around 60% of production is for these type of products and the  companies involved also tend to be the larger processors, in some cases using many thousands of tonnes of resin per year. The AMI database includes the details of the European production sites for the leading building profile producing groups such as Profine, Veka, Rehau, Alphacan, Deceuninck and Surteco.

Other processors covered by the report include manufacturers of rigid profiles for furniture products, curtain tracks, blinds and lighting, as well as flexible profile producers which mainly serve the automotive, domestic appliance and building markets. This segment of the market is more fragmented involving many smaller companies, often located in Italy.

Germany is by far the most important market for the production of profiles. It accounts for nearly half of the market in polymer demand terms, although only 21% of producers in AMI"s database, illustrating the size and importance of German companies in this industry and the level of restructuring and reorganisation that has gone in recent years in response to the weak state of building activity and the recession.

Italy, with 13% of all sites, has the next largest number of profile extruding companies, although the production of profiles in Italy is relatively unusual in that it is applications other than window frames which represent the largest share of polymer consumption, mainly in the form of profiles for blinds, doors and shutters.  France, UK and Poland are also significant centres of production.