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Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Markets & companies, Coatings market

CEPE Annual Conference: Facing challenges and changes

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, was this year’s host city for the CEPE Annual Conference and General Assembly. More than 130 decision makers in the European coatings industry attended the event on 26 to 27 September to discuss the future of the paint and coatings industry.

The latest trends, the economic climate and the impact of Brexit were discussed at the CEPE Conference in Belgrade. Image source: marinadatsenko -
The latest trends, the economic climate and the impact of Brexit were discussed at the CEPE Conference in Belgrade. Image source: marinadatsenko -...

By Damir Gagro

The 2017 figures which managing director Jan van der Meulen presented for the European market showed that most segments were "developing nicely”. Domestic sales of protective coatings went up (+2.6 %) in volume terms, while powder coatings increased by 6.7 % and even marine coatings grew (+8.3 %). Can and coil coatings, as well as vehicle refinishes also rose year on year. However, the market for decorative coatings fell by -1.5 % while the automotive OEM coatings segment too posted a negative performance (-6 %). According to van der Meulen, smaller countries across Europe outperformed the larger ones such as Germany, Italy, France and the UK.

Looming Brexit remains a concern

A major concern for the European coatings industry is the looming Brexit on account of the changes and challenges it will bring. For CEPE President Dr. Harald Borgholte, Brexit and the treatment of member companies from the UK will be a crucial issue in the coming months.

Oliver Kamm of The Times newspaper addressed this topic as well in his presentation on the economic climate within the EU. Kamm believes there are large risks to the world economy in the medium term, given the rise of protectionist policies in the US, the consequent threat of a trade war between major economic blocs, the continuing risk of a sovereign debt crisis in emerging economies with large external debt, and the opaque consequences of Brexit.

Legislative issues are challenging the industry

Legislative issues remain a challenge for the industry and hence the association will have to put a lot of work into these topics. The most urgent remains the possible classification of titanium dioxide. Meanwhile, the European Commission is working on a proposal under which mixtures, such as paint, would be exempted from classification. Any decisions by the authorities are not expected to be communicated before the end of this year. Other pressing issues are biocides and microplastics.

The complete report from the CEPE Annual Conference will be part of the October issue of the European Coatings Journal.

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