Titanium dioxide supply squeeze 'threatens European plastics converters'

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The Polymers for Europe Alliance is warning of the impact on European plastics manufacturers of a supply shortage in the additive titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is used for white masterbatch and as a UV stabiliser in rigid PVC outdoor products.

“We call upon all the TiO2 producers to help our plastics converting industry to create a global level playing field to secure the development of our business in Europe,” said Ron Marsh, chairman of the Polymers for Europe Alliance.

In a statement, the alliance said: “The issue that is today threatening large parts of the plastics conversion industry in Europe is the supply of titanium dioxide where unplanned maintenance shutdowns are limiting production, thereby restricting output and driving up additives prices to uncompetitive levels. No extra volumes seem to be made available for Europe by the producers from outside the EU to support the growth in the plastics industry markets, especially for some PVC building applications and polymer masterbatches.”

The Polymers for Europe Alliance was set up by the European Plastics Converters association (EuPC) in 2015 when there was a severe shortage of commodity polymers, including PE, PP and PVC, in Europe. It says its objective is “to build and maintain good communications between suppliers and customers of polymers and additives in Europe following the catastrophic situation during the first semester 2015”.

In addition to the problems in the TiO2 market, the alliance said in the testament that supply of some polymers is also getting very tight and plastics converters face difficulties in passing on the consequent large price increases to their customers.

It said: “It seems that the margin of the converters sandwiched between polymer suppliers and users of plastics is being squeezed in growing markets, and this is damaging business prospects in the first quarter of 2017.”

The alliance also drew attention to the Best Polymer Producers Awards for Europe 2017, which it is organising.

“The Awards will give a clear indication which polymer suppliers will have won the trust of the European converters when it comes to material delivery reliability,” it said.

Members of the alliance are able to vote in the awards up to 15 May 2017. The final awards ceremony will take place during the Gala Dinner of EuPC’s annual meeting on 1 June 2017 in Madrid. More information is available at www.polymercomplyeurope.eu.

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