The main product groups on the market for stabilizers are compounds based on calcium (calcium-zinc and organo-calcium), lead, and zinc stabilizers as well as liquid and light stabilizers (HALS, benzophenone, benzotriazole).
After cadmium based products disappeared almost completely from the markets until the middle of the past decade due to health and environmental concerns, recent years have seen an increasing substitution of lead-based products.
However, demand for lead stabilizers is falling rapidly. Shortly, lead-based stabilizers will vanish completely from the market in the European Union, and as a result, many companies will have to strategically re-position themselves.
"The global market for stabilizers is undergoing highly dynamic changes at the moment", explains Oliver Kutsch, Ceresana CEO.
"Market shares of individual product groups are shifting considerably. Stabilizers based on lead are increasingly replaced by products based on calcium or tin compounds.”
European market breakdown
Thus, the research institute Ceresana reveals the market for these essential additives as increasing in both Western Europe and, to an increasing extent, in Eastern Europe.
Several multinational chemical enterprises have been divesting their stabilizer businesses to smaller producers of specialty chemicals in recent years.
In Europe, profiles are the main application for stabilizers. Calcium-tin and organo-calcium stabilizers are dominating in Western Europe especially. Other products such as tin compounds and liquid mixed metals are mainly used for films.
Even though tin stabilizers are comparatively expensive, a small amount suffices to ensure stabilization of the final products.
BRIC sees rise in stabilizer demand
During the past years, demand for plastic products and thus stabilizers rose in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) in particular.
An increasing demand for environmentally friendly products can be observed in China as well. Ceresana expects global consumption of calcium-based stabilizers to increase by 6.9% per year.
Reporting a market share of 55%, Asia-Pacific is the worldwide largest sales market for stabilizers, followed by Western Europe. A large share of demand originates in China, the worldwide largest producer and importer of primary plastics.