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Sales in the Brazilian composites industry totaled US$ 665 million in 2015, 18% lower than in the previous year. In terms of production volume, the reduction was even more pronounced: 21.2%, totaling 162,000 tons. As a direct effect, layoffs increased and the industry closed the year with 64,200 jobs, 8,200 less than in 2014. This is the worst performance since 2011, according to MaxiQuim, the consulting firm responsible for conducting the survey.
“The economic crisis was one of the main reasons of this drop, especially during a period in which uncertainties and the lack of government credibility have stopped the country. In addition, 2014 ended with high inventories, which reflected on the demand. The uncontrolled prices of raw materials, services and energy, credit restrictions and the depreciation of the Brazilian currency also affected the competitiveness of the Brazilian industry,” said Gilmar Lima, President of the Latin American Composite Materials Association (ALMACO).
Apart from the economic issue, Lima emphasises that the management and long-term vision of companies in the composites industry should undergo a marked improvement. “We were not financially and technically prepared for such a major crisis. That is why one of ALMACO’s goals is to further popularise our materials and encourage investments in management, knowledge, sustainability and, above all, innovation. We need a more professional production chain and a more efficient strategic vision,” he said.
MaxiQuim’s survey divides the Brazilian market between polyester and epoxy resin-based composites. With regard to polyester resin composites – 108,400 tons were produced in 2015 –, the construction industry led the ranking, with a 58.3% share, ahead of transportation (12.7%), corrosion (10.1% ) and sanitation (3.8%), among others. Wind power generation accounted for 95.6% of the demand for epoxy composites – it was the only segment that reported growth in the period (+4.5%). The oil market ranked second, with 1%.
For 2016, MaxiQuim estimates a further drop in the composites industry indicators: -1.8% in sales (US$ 654 million) and -0.9% in production (161,000 tons). “The way out of this crisis is already known. We need to invest in innovation, new niches, differentiation, knowledge, image, export, internationalisation and especially in people. Companies that do not have people with knowledge, attitude and who believe that they can make a difference, will vanish,” said the President of ALMACO.
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