ACE coatings: “Tonnage consumption is dropping.”
How do you rate the market for ACE coatings?
Dietmar Jost: Following some difficult years, we are now seeing a good upward trend. There were a number of factors that impacted negatively on the market and vehicle fleets in the ACE sector. The sanctions imposed on Russia and the uncertainty surrounding subsidies from the European Union certainly played a part. What’s more, many of our global ACE customers in Europe took long vacations. This meant that capacity was not being utilised – but it’s now rising again. Although numbers still haven’t quite returned to the level of a few years ago, we nevertheless expect a positive performance and consider this segment to be interesting and attractive and one in which we will remain active in the long term.
Which regions offer the greatest potential in your view?
Jost: Asia is the strongest region, and accounts for about 60% of the market share. In Europe, the figure is around 23%. The market in Asia is growing faster than in Europe, where it is stagnating somewhat. China is transitioning to water-borne coatings and new paint lines are being set up to operate with them. In Europe, we are heavily engaged in efficient systems such as ultra-high solids DTM (direct to metal) and cathodic electrocoating. The aim is to produce highly efficient systems of low layer thickness and to cut the number of process steps. This has the effect of lowering tonnage consumption. And, as a result, volume is not rising as strongly as sales.
What is the competitive situation among coatings manufacturers?
Jost: A number of companies have established themselves as system suppliers and made their portfolios available globally. Then there are a few companies which are focused on innovative niche products. Companies which don’t offer complete systems are increasingly looking for partnerships with other companies. The market is definitely trending in that direction. Nowadays, paint companies are increasingly seeking outside expertise or are entering into long-term partnerships with other companies in order to serve customers – even if that means going beyond their own product portfolio.