Following a record result in 2010, European tube producers were able to increase their production by a further two per cent in the first half of 2011, to about 5.6 billion units, according to the European Tube Manufacturers Association (etma).
Shipments of laminate tubes and plastic tubes rose by three per cent, whereas demand for aluminium tubes stagnated.
However 2010 boom is over
“The booming demand of 2010 may be over but the order situation and capacity utilisation can nevertheless still be described as satisfactory,” said Gregor Spengler, secretary general of etma.
“A positive consequence is that at the beginning of 2011 there was a reduction in the extremely long delivery times of 2010 to a healthy normal level.”
Amongst other things, etma explained that consumer demand in the first half of 2011 was driven by intensified promotional campaigns in the cosmetics market, which accounts for some 44 per cent of total tube shipments.
Overall, etma pointed out a continuing trend towards smaller lot sizes and a return to elaborately decorated tubes, which means greater complexity and flexibility for tube manufacturers when it comes to production planning.
Economic situation to take its toll
It’s not all good news though, as increased prices for raw materials and energy and higher costs for closures, lacquers and printing inks in the first half of the year have put pressure on margins.
In view of the renewed turbulence in the international finance and currency markets and the resultant loss of confidence on the part of market players, etma says that uncertainty is spreading in the European tube industry.
It is thought that if this potentially explosive situation cannot be defused, it is to be feared that the negative developments will also spill over into the real economy and lead to growing caution on the part of clients and consumers, which suggest the outlook for 2012 could be uncertain.