The global coatings industry: The best is yet to come!


The seventh incarnation of the 2015 Coatings Summit, held in Miami, USA, was a unique opportunity for senior executives from the international coatings industry to discuss strategies, trends and the prospects for the industry.  The one-and-a-half-day programme was packed with expert presentations by leading international paint makers. In the first presentation to the conference, Chuck Bunch, Chairman & CEO of PPG Industries summed it all up when he said: “The paint industry is an attractive industry whose best days are still ahead.” Over the last 10 years, the paint makers PPG, Akzo Nobel, Sherwin-Williams, Valspar and RPM recorded 9.2% growth – the highest rate anywhere in the value chain. In the corridors, too, the word was that the paints and coatings industry was satisfied with current business success and was looking forward to the future with confidence.

Opportunities abound

Pekka Rantamäki, CEO of Teknos traced the company’s gradual growth over the years. Until roughly the mid-1990s, the company focused very much on the Scandinavian markets, before slowly spreading out into neighbouring European countries, from where it gradually conquered the rapidly growing markets, too. Today Teknos had locations in India, Russia and China, and elsewhere, he added. But these countries were not the only ones where growth was predicted in the years ahead. Chuck Bunch gave his expected growth rates for the period 2013-2018. Growth would occur across all regions (Asia Pacific 7%, Latin America 6%, Middle East and Africa 6%, 3% US and Canada, Europe 3%), he said. Naturally, China featured on the conference agenda as well. Shuchau Cao, Managing Director of Carpoly Chemical Group, whose 510 000 metric ton production volume makes it the largest Chinese paint manufacturer, gave an insider’s view of the Chinese market. Local producers were catching up, he said, but there were still some challenges to overcome: ever stricter legislation, rising labour costs, integration of SMEs and a shortage of technical expertise. Markus Kamieth, CEO of BASF Coatings, added further insights into the Chinese market. He discussed strategies and success stories, and encapsulated the situation there beautifully by noting that “In China, everything is possible, but nothing is simple.” Kamieth believed there was huge potential in the automotive sector. Currently 86 out of every 1000 Chinese owned a car, he noted. The corresponding figure for Americans was 918. These figures were worlds apart! But what if China were to catch up with Brazil (176 per 1000)? Then the number of cars on China’s roads would hit roughly 120 million. Glorious prospects!

In your opinion, how is the international coatings industry doing?

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