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Global Specialty Papers and Paperboards Market Study 2016

Global Specialty Papers and Paperboards Market Study 2016

  • December 2016
  • ID: 4610016
  • Format: PDF
  • By Alexander Watson Associates (AWA)


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Specialty papers and paperboards represent a part of the paper industry where demands are more specific and tailor-made products are required, creating possibilities for adding value. The industry is dynamic, with the coming and going of specialty paper producers. In this niche, technology and creativity are important tools. Even more important for a company’s success is an understanding of the market. This report provides that necessary knowledge, understanding and insight.

AWA Global Specialty Papers and Paperboards Market Study 2016 shows the full range of opportunities that exist for specialty papers and boards. The report highlights the many and varied grades of specialty papers and paperboards, their present and future opportunities and the changing business structure across the supply chain. The study lists major specialty paper producers, subsidiaries and mills in North America, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.

Scope of the Report
This report uniquely provides a tool for evaluating the specialty paper and paperboard market. It provides information on developments, market size, growth, technical requirements, and a general overview of key specialty paper and paperboard grades. The study benefits from co-operation and expertise from a number of industry experts and an extensive research methodology based on primary and secondary data collection, an inhouse database of information, and access to a broad spectrum of industry contacts.

This sixth edition of AWA’s Specialty Papers & Paperboards Market Study continues to provide a detailed appraisal of the range and diversity of specialty papers and paperboards with particular emphasis on:
- Identifying the many and varied grades of specialty papers;
- Discussing the present and future opportunities, focusing on those grades that are the most important and are developing in the global market;
- Looking at the changing structure of the specialty papers business throughout the supply chain; and
- Outlining the key players involved.

Since the last edition published in 2013, much has happened in specialty paper and paperboard markets. The trends for change in specialty markets previously noted by AWA have continued. Some of the key trends have been:
- Shifts in demand and increasingly in production for specialty papers and paperboards from the mature North American and Western European markets to developing Eastern European, Asia-Pacific and South American markets
- Financial problems for some established specialty producers in the developed economies
- Change of ownership of established specialty paper and paperboard producers in both developed and developing markets through acquisition and merger
- Continued conversion of commodity papermaking assets to the production of specialties.
- Expansion and updating of equipment, especially in Europe and developing markets
- Closure of equipment and mills that are not capable of cost-effective performance
- Further consolidation in the customer base for specialty papers through acquisition and merger
- Some significant investments in specialty paper and paperboard machines, particularly in China and to a lesser degree in Europe
- Forward integration into converting by some paper producers
- Developments in raw materials for specialty paper and paperboard production
- The current low price of peteroleum feed stocks
- Increased and improved paper industry pro-active promotion of papers for traditional and new end-uses

This new study provides a summation of industry events affecting specialty paper and paperboard production and consumption since early 2013, along with our assessment of their immediate and longer term effects on the specialty paper and paperboard markets. Market sizes and trends by market segment and grade category have been updated as have producer and converter data tables and producer profiles.

With the current pricing levels for crude oil, paper’s cost position for many applications where it competes directly with plastic films has been adversely affected for the present. Regardless, for many applications paper continues to be the best alternative regarding performance, disposal/recycling and renewability aspects. Specialty papers can play an important part in maintaining our standard of living while minimizing impact in the use of non-renewable resources and the effects on the environment.

Paper is now becoming the favored bag/take-out packaging medium in parts of North America and Europe because of its recyclable and renewable characteristics. For example, plastic shopping bags are banned in an increasing number of communities. Of course, there is also pressure, especially at supermarkets to minimize usage of all single use bags, including paper based products by requiring stores to charge for the bags.

As we have stated in each of these studies since 2005, we believe that the paper industry must continue promoting the versatility of papers and their suitability for a wide range of technical applications, in addition to emphasizing the added advantage of paper’s environmental attractions as a sustainable, renewable resource material. The Two Sides organization continues to effectively advancing this position.

Developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region continue to grow more rapidly regarding consumption of specialty papers and paperboards than the developed economies in North America, Western Europe and Japan. Even with some slowing of growth in China, the region has gained in share of the global specialty paper market since 2013. In addition, there has been signidficant investment in the region by local and European paper companies to add specialty capacity in the region. This additional specialty capacity involves the use of state-of-the-art equipment in most cases, regardless of whether the added capacity is a new machine or a rebuild. These expansions will change the trade balance in specialty papers between Asia-Pacific countries and Europe, North America and Japan, initially reducing exports and at some point resulting in imports from the new Asia-Pacific located equipment.

It remains critical for mills in the specialty paper business or for those contemplating entering specialty paper markets with existing commodity equipment to understand that the specialty paper world is always changing – sometimes rapidly. This requires marketplace diligence and continuing new product development. Specialty products become obsolete. As specialties grow in volume, they attract increasingly large machines that may result in an established specialty producer to become cost-ineffective for its customers.

For companies with under performing equipment (either commodity or specialty), this means a better understanding of viable grade mix options for a given mill and machine is essential in determining the path forward to profitability. Determining where the repositioned machine can provide its customer base with premium and perhaps unique product qualities at a fair and competitive value is essential to a successful revitalization of the equipment. As a basis for such a determination, this study provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of specialty papers and paperboards, the market sizes and trends by application and a basic review of quality requirements by application and processes typically used – useful for manufacturers and investors alike. In addition, it is designed to update market sizes, trends and active participants for companies already active in specialties as producers or customers. It is hoped that this study leads to a better understanding of specialty paper markets and technology and will assist the industry in specialty related decisions.

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