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Bad news but should we be worried?

By Anthony Clark
Posted 24 October 2012

The UK’s plastics industry has been reporting a largely positive picture these last few months, aside from the construction sector, which is understandably still feeling poorly. All in the garden looked rosy…

And then Dow and DuPont go and admit that things are actually pretty rotten. So much so that jobs are being shed and plants closed. Today was a black Wednesday for the global plastics industry – long dark shadows were cast over its length – and Europe got mentioned by both behemoths as being a principal cause for concern.

So who do we believe – the global bellwethers or the UK’s processors, machinery companies and distributors? Surely we can’t be having it both ways. Either we’re doing okay or things have got so bad that major players need to realign their businesses… isn’t that how it works?

Okay, I’ll admit that my ‘either/or’ analysis is simplistic and flawed but for two giants of our industry to come out on the same day and admit that things have gone wrong is worrying no matter which way you view it.

Sadly the PRW crystal ball – well, PMMA ball actually – is looking a little cloudy at the moment but I feel sure that there are sages and soothsayers out that that have tapped into the source and can add comment and observation on this topic.

So what’s your take on today’s doom and gloom?

Send your thoughts to aclark@crain.com and we’ll look to compile the best of ‘em for publication early next week.

Comments:

I can only comment on personal experience with dealing with these companies’ elastomer divisions over the last 35 years, but from this experience whilst both Dow and DuPont do have some excellent products, getting really good technical support is generally difficult. I have always find Solvay gives excellent technical support, and Solvay has had far better Q3 results. Also the prices of DuPont’s fluoroelastomer are generally far higher than comparable and often better products available from Solvay. It may therefore be that this is less about what products that the companies sell and more about the service and support they offer their customers.

- 25 October 2012 - Chris Wheeler

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