“Markets are moving again.“
Ninove, 17th October 2016. Axel Schneider, Head of Cathay Industries Europe, formulates a positive view to the European coatings market in an interview given to the European Coatings Journal.
You recently took over Hoover Color Corporation. Why?
Until now, Cathay has had its fingers in many pies in the US, but it has lacked a substantial presence specifically in the paints and coatings industry. In Hoover Color, we have acquired a longstanding partner with a firm foundation in coatings. The pigments market in that country is huge and we have only a small slice of it – so our growth ambitions are realistic.
What differences do you see in the various regions?
There are differences in the ways the markets have developed and are structured. There is little consolidation in Asia-Pacific, yet it is a dynamic growth region. The US, meanwhile, is highly consolidated and I would say that the market there is cyclical. Europe lies somewhere inbetween. Companies there consider themselves to be in a state of permanent crisis – incorrectly in my view. They see every tiny setback as a disaster. Yes, Europe did have a difficult time, but the markets are moving again. There is also a clear difference in the priorities accorded to price, quality and automation. In Asia, price is the most important criterion for pigments. In America, it is all about the quality and the extent to which products lend themselves to automation. In Europe, quality used to enjoy top priority, but the spotlight is now shifting increasingly towards price. Automation is not pursued there as consistently as in the US.
What developments do you expect in the market for iron oxides?
Globally, the market is growing slowly and steadily. But there are regional differences. The greatest growth is taking place in southeast Asia and Africa, where new market entrants are taking up positions and general demand is growing due to progressive urbanization. For the US and Europe, we expect slow and continuous growth. We anticipate that countries such as Spain, Italy and France will increase their investments in buildings and infrastructure. Which is why we have expanded our distributor network in Europe. We felt it was important to have local, dynamic representatives in the markets.
Source: European Coatings Journal, Ausgabe 10/2016