- Release liners’ diverse end-use markets have seen demand increase across most of the world’s developing economies, creating growth opps in almost all segments. Almost 70% of all respondents consider their companies to be truly global, while another 19% think their companies will become global in the next five years.
- At the same time, regional and local suppliers are achieving successful business platforms without feeling either the need to expand boundaries, or to aim to have a global presence.
Mergers & Acquisitions
- More than 50% of respondents anticipate M&A activity to affect their business in 2016. Companies seem to find it easier to grow via acquisitions rather than organically.
- Five years from now, 54% of respondents say M&A activity will increase, and only 26% think it will decrease.
Costs & Profitability
- More than 70% of respondents experienced a mix of cost increases last year – spanning labor, energy, transportation, and materials – totaling between 0-3%. Most expect similar increases this year, with labor costs leading the way.
- Among all respondents, about one-third each said their stocking levels (for inventory management) decreased, increased or stayed the same in 2015 as from 2014.
- About 35% increased staffing, 10% cut staff, and 55% had relatively the same number of employees.
Business Sentiment & Innovation
- While the release-liner industry in general feels it has made incremental improvements in products and services in recent years, about half of all respondents think there’s a real need for some “true innovation.” A few areas noted as having hit the mark are lower platinum silicone content, radiation curing, linerless labels, downgauged substrates, and reuse & recycling of spent liner.
- Next innovations predicted by the survey include compostable films, fully compostable liner and adhesive, easier-to-apply coatings, and more replacement of paper by film liner base materials.
Sustainability & Environment
- Sustainability is a major concern for businesses today, and the release-liner industry is no exception.
- About half say sustainability/recyclability/eco initiatives are important to their business today; 60% say they’ve taken measurable efforts so far; only about 25% think issues about recycling release-liner waste are affecting their business; and half say these issues will have a major effect on business in five years.
- While only 25% of respondents say they are involved in a program to recycle/reuse spent release liner, their answers were surprisingly non-specific regarding the methods used to accomplish this.
- Respondents in North America and Asia-Pacific markets are the most optimistic about their individual business growth for 2016, followed closely by those in Europe.
- North American release-liner makers, in particular, forecast their growth like this: 25% expect >8% growth; 20% expect 5-8% growth; 30% foresee 2-5% growth; 20% predict 0-2% growth; and about 5% think their business will decline by 0-5% this year.
- The drive to cut costs ranked No. 1 among factors influencing release-liner market growth, with the questionable availability of raw materials in second place. Other items mentioned were non-payment of bills by customers, customers going out of business, available cash, interest rates, and the current economic status of China.