Austrian paint industry affected by Corona
Many paint companies are expecting sales declines of up to 25 percent in 2020. Some companies were able to make up some of their losses through online sales, but the closure of retail outlets and construction sites and the collapse of demand in the automotive sector forced several Austrian paint manufacturers to apply for short-time working for parts of their workforce. “Our prospects are not rosy at the moment,” regrets Hubert Culik, chairman of the Austrian coatings industry, “even though raw material prices have fallen temporarily due to the low oil price and low demand. A recovery is not yet in sight.”
The year 2020 began quite satisfactorily, with sales in the construction sector in particular exceeding those of the first quarter of the previous year. In 2019, the Austrian coatings industry was again able to achieve an increase of 3 percent despite the economic downturn and against the European trend. The industry thus increased its production to 170,000 tonnes of paints and varnishes and its production value to EUR 470 million. There was growth thanks to exports, especially to Germany and Belgium as well as to the CEE countries. However, the pressure of imports from Germany to Austria is also enormous. In 2019, a total of EUR 309 million worth of paints and varnishes were imported from Germany to Austria and EUR 100 million worth were exported.
Industry donated disinfectant
The corona pandemic is not only a concern for the industry in economic terms. “The Austrian paint and coatings industry made a significant contribution to the supply of disinfectants at the height of the crisis. Not only by responding quickly to the shortages by producing disinfectants, but also by making generous donations to local emergency organisations, hospitals and retirement homes,” Culik proudly explains. In total, the industry donated about 20,000 litres of disinfectants, making it an indispensable partner in the fight against COVID-19 even at the beginning of the pandemic.
The 24 companies of the Austrian paint and coatings industry employ about 3,000 people.They produce 170,000 tons of lacquers and paints worth EUR 470 million annually. The industry invests 10 to 15 percent of its turnover in research and development.