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Profile extrusion reaches “inflection point,” headed for growth in 2010

A new study of profile extrusion in North America found that while 52% of companies surveyed expect 2009 sales to be lower than 2008, fully 57% believe revenues will either continue growing or rebound in 2010, with only 3% anticipating a further downturn. Undertaken by Plastics Custom Research Services (PCRS), the study examined 155 companies that devote all or most of their operations to the production of profiles, surveying the current landscape and forecasting activity through 2014.

PCRS published similar reports on the North American profile extrusion business in 2000 and 2004, with the most recent database including 146 companies active in the extrusion of profiles. Consultations were completed with decision-making officials at 94 of those businesses, with 11 companies (8%) declining to participate.

Report author, Peter Mooney, said it is worth noting that even though 52% of the survey's participants described a downturn in sales in 2009, many of those contacted suggested that the bulk of the damage occurred in the first half of last year. "Thus it may be that at least some of the regional profile extrusion businesses have already begun to climb back to 'normal' conditions," Mooney writes.

Looking forward from 2010-2014, the PCRS report posits that base-line average annual growth of the regional profile extrusion business will be 6%, a rate that is comparable to the one registered from 1998-2003. Mooney says that if this forecast holds, by 2014 the value of regional profile extruders' output will have mostly regained its previous 2005 peak output level of $13.9 billion. Aggregating and comparing the surveyed companies' 2008 and projected 2009 sales totals showed a year-over-year decline of 14.0%, so that over the 2004-2009 period, sales among these regional profile extruders declined by 10%.

The study found that output for the major profile markets in 2009 was 50% lower than 2004, but Mooney says the data indicate the decline appears to be over. "2010 is an inflection point," Mooney writes. "Most markets—including automotive and building and construction—will experience a recovery. This turnaround will continue until 2014 when former levels of production in 2004 in every major market will be regained or exceeded."

The report notes that, with a weight of 66.7%, the housing industry has the largest input in the data. From 2004-2008, annual construction of single-family homes dropped 61%, with an 18% decline in multi-family home construction, and Mooney says market participants would be wise to track the construction market as a bellwether for any market revival. "Obviously recovery of the building and construction industry is absolutely critical to the restoration of volume growth and profitability among regional profile extruders," Mooney writes, adding that in monthly data relating to housing starts, few housing analysts are bullish. For the entire report, visit PCRS. - [email protected] 

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