Thursday, August 28, 2014

Plasticizer Sales

The United States company, Ferro, reported plasticizer sales in its 2013 annual report that were 10% less than the company's 2012 sales.  Ferro had in 2013 substantial plasticizer sales ($292.6 million) with respect to its other product sales, and therefore reported these plasticizer sales separately as segment sales data. 

Much of Ferro plasticizer sales are phthalates.  Unfortunately, for Ferro sales, some phthalates have been barred from use due to health effect concerns, and according to Ferro’s 2013 annual report the company's decrease in plasticizer sales from 2012 to 2013 was driven by changing environmental regulations related to plasticizers.  It is likely that other companies that sell phthalates plasticizers are also experiencing decreased, flat, or, at best, small increases in plasticizer sales.

Eastman also sells plasticizers, but most, if not all, of their plasticizer sales are non-phthalate plasticizers.   According to Eastman’s 2013 annual report, their major non-phthalate plasticizer product increased in sales by 25% from 2012 to 2013.  Eastman states it is the world’s largest non-phthalate plasticizer manufacturer.  This 25% Eastman sales increased for non-phthalate plasticizers probably indicates a shift in demand from phthalate to non-phthalate plasticizers (which the Ferro data above also supports).  With this demand shift, other companies, such as Evonik, Laxness, and Perstorp, have initiated non-phthalate product manufacturing and sales.

In addition to plasticizer product markets based on phthalate and non-phthalates, a third plasticizer market is based on plasticizers derived from bio-based chemicals.  Such large public companies as BASF, Dow, DuPont, and DSM have developed, or are developing, bio-based plasticizer products.   However, because the sales of these bio-based products are such a small percentage of the companies' sales, no data can be found in the companies’ annual reports on how well these products are selling.

Phthalates account for most of plasticizer use and this is likely to continue for some time, since much use seems to  be in a way with very low, if any, health threats.  Bio-based plasticizers would probably have to have equal performance and cost materially less before they gain much market share from phthalates and non-phthalates.

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