A few Converting Curmudgeon bullet points:
“What’s next for specialty paper mills that win” by Matt Elhardt, vp-business development,
at Fisher International, Inc.:
- Major grade capacities have been growing about 25% in total volume since 2007; growing categories include tissue and towel, specialties, packaging and pulp; declining apps are printing & writing,
- Overall growth is slowing because declining demand in China is not being offset by rising demand in Latin America and other Asia-Pacific markets.
- 2017 specialty paper capacity will fall 0.2% in North America to 4 MM tonnes/year; demand in Europe will decline 2.4% to 8.5 MM tonnes/year; and rise in Asia-Pacific by 7.7% to 12 MM tonnes/year.
- Growth in specialties is grade-dependent in North America and Europe; top end-use apps include packaging, electronic & industrial, hygiene, food, and release liners. Communication papers demand
fell by 890,000 tonnes last year.
- In developed economies, e-media will continue to cause many more years of graphics-paper demand decline. The drop will begin to slow in 2018, but demand could still be impacted for another 15 years.
- There are now 1.7 MM tonnes of specialty grades made on “printing & writing paper” machines that were not making them back in 2007.
“Specialty paper market dynamics, trends and opportunities” by Frank Perkowski, principal with Business Development Advisory:
- Competitive dynamics have shifted – fewer but more focused, smaller competitors in most segments; consolidation has streamlined product offerings; more disciplined pricing in developed markets; commodity mills are transitioning to specialties; more overseas competition as customers expand globally.
- Changing product requirements – e-media still driving print market decline; more SKUs shifting demand to digital print, smaller run sizes; integrated solutions, higher performing materials are increasingly required; positive sustainability is now critical.
- Macro trends driving specialty paper uses & apps – sustainability; food/product safety; customer convenience; technology; and globalization.
- Sub-categories with above-average growth in the years ahead: industrial wrappers (+5%); inkjet printing papers; food processing and foodservice papers (+5.5%); medical papers; label facestocks (+7%);
release liners; and digital printing papers.
- Short-term innovations – water-based barrier coatings; digital/inkjet substrates; lightweighting; sustainability improvements; specialty performance coatings.
- Long-term innovations – nano-materials; electronic paper/printed electronics; high-performance composites; and plastic/film replacements.