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Strong Growth for High Impact, Stiff Specialty Polypropylene Copolymer Resins

02 December 2002

Phillip Townsend Associates estimates that worldwide demand for polymers (including homopolymer, copolymer and TPO) amounted to about 32.2 million tonnes in 2001. The specialties segment comprises approximately 1.3 million tonnes (4.0%) of that total demand.

In the new report, ""Worldwide Specialty Polypropylene Resins - Types, Producers and End-Use Trends."" Phillip Townsend Associates (PTIA) forecasts strong growth rates for specialty polypropylene copolymers offering both higher toughness and stiffness.

""Among the specialty copolymers, reactor-TPO's (such as BP's ACTUF) account for roughly 240 kilotonnes,"" Dr. David Durand, PTAI's director of consulting, said. He also noted that an above average growth rate of approximately 13% per year is forecast for this particular resin, driven by substitution of PVC and compounded TPO.

""Independent compounders are also active in the specialty polypropylene market. Among the specialty polypropylenes studied, the fastest-growing resin is long glass fiber reinforced polypropylene with an annual average growth rate of over 20%,"" Durand said. ""Automotive and non-automotive applications will benefit from the relatively low specific gravity and enhanced mechanical properties.""

According to the study, resin producers have commercialized copolymers (with up to 8 percent ethylene, like Atofina's Z-Polymer(R)) and terpolymers (with up to 20 percent comonomer, like Basell's Adsyl(R)) with lower heat seal temperatures for use with cast and oriented polypropylene films. Annual average growth rates for these materials are over 6%.

PTAI forecasted growth rates for specialty polypropylene resins as a whole range from about 10 percent per year for North America and Europe to approximately 4 percent per year for Japan/Korea/Taiwan. The highest growth rate, about 13 percent per year, is predicted for South America.

PTAI's new report focuses on 9 types of specialty polypropylene resins, including three types of homopolymers (roughly 630 kilotonnes), four types of copolymers and terpolymers (about 580 kilotonnes) and two emerging specialty filled polypropylenes and a modified specialty polypropylene (roughly 100 kilotonnes).

The geographical focus of the report is on North and South America, Europe and Japan/Korea/Taiwan.





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