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Additives to add business

The Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH) just released its latest report, showing that demand for specialty plastic additives is projected to advance 2.6% per year to 5.2 billion lb in 2009. In value terms, consumption will increase 4.6% annually to $6.8 billion. Gains will result from increasing plastics demand, especially in PVC, and improved outlook in key markets such as nonresidential construction, electrical and electronics, and packaging. Demand for plasticizers and flame retardants, the two largest additive categories, will experience a considerable rebound after declining from 1999 through 2004. PP will be the fastest-growing outlet for plastic additives, but polyethylene will also benefit from the rapid growth of the wood-plastic composite market.

The continuing phase-out of fluorocarbon blowing agents and replacement with not-in-kind technologies will negatively impact the additives market, particularly for PU and PS. Plasticizers are by far the largest specialty plastic additive, accounting for half of total demand by volume in 2004. Flame retardants, the second largest additive type, will experience solid growth through 2009 as a result of a resurgent electrical and electronics market. Brominated compounds, though under environmental pressure in Europe, will see increased use in the U.S. plastics market. Polyvinyl chloride is the primary resin for plastic additives, consuming over 60% of all additives by volume in 2004.

Freedonia also released two other reports: Plastic & Competitive Pipe and Cosmetic and Toiletry Containers. According to Freedonia Group, plastic pipe will rebound with above average growth of 2.7% per year through 2009 after losing market share in early 2000 due to a precipitous drop in communications conduit. This rebound will create demand for 10.6 billion lb of resin, with mass growing larger than total linear feet, reflecting plastic''s inroads into larger diameter applications that face greater pressure- and crush-resistance requirements. PVC will remain the dominant pipe resin with the best opportunities expected in large diameter drain and sewer uses. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) will rise at the fastest pace due to its flexibility, sturdiness, joint integrity, and trench-laying capabilities.

U.S. demand for cosmetic and toiletry containers is projected to increase 2.6% a year to 24.7 billion units in 2009. In dollar terms, sales will climb 4.7% yearly to $3.8 billion. Growth will be fueled in part by a steady rate of new product introductions with improved performance features and/or appearance-enhancing attributes. Among material types, plastic will register the fastest growth through 2009 in both units and value, with demand projected to increase 3.1% per annum to 18.4 billion units. Plastic will continue to increase its stronghold in cosmetic and toiletry packaging based on a combination of favorable cost and performance characteristics. Technological and resin advances offering improvements in container aesthetics and performance will enable plastics to further penetrate prestige applications.

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