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June 2, 2005

1 Min Read
Thermoplastic sheet remains strong performer in Europe

Processing of thermoplastics sheet could reach about 4 million tonnes this year in Europe, according to a recent study by analysts Applied Market Information (AMI; Bristol, England). The sheet market has been a consistently strong performer within the European plastics sector and is expected to continue to show solid growth through the end of this year, says AMI. A key driver is demand for packaging of thermoformed food containers, with such applications accounting for two thirds of total European sheet demand.

Polystyrene (PS) is the main material extruded. Nevertheless the analysis shows that PS sheet demand (estimated at more than 1.4 million tonnes last year) has eroded in a number of applications, such as barrier trays, which have lost ground to polypropylene (PP).

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PP and vinyl both account for about 20% of polymer demand for European sheet, although they have markedly different market structures. PP is mainly used for food packaging, while PVC, although declining in demand, is still widely used in blister packaging for medical, pharmaceutical, and nonfood applications. PP sheet has been growing at above 6%/yr since 2000.

PET sheet is one of the fastest growing sectors advancing at rates of more than 10%/yr. This is mainly for thermoformed packaging of salads, fruits, sandwiches, and deli items. Distribution of extruded sheet is growing twice as fast in Central Europe than in saturated markets in Western Europe, the study reports.

Robert Colvin [email protected]

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