Capacity growth goes ahead in rest of world

8 December 2011

In part l of our survey of the world particleboard manufacturing industry during 2010 (WBPI Issue 5, 2011, p14), we looked at particleboard capacities and markets in Europe and North America and reported a “mixed picture”.

We had very little to report from North America (US, Canada and Mexico) with no new capacity advised, just mills closed or mothballed.

In western Europe, the only developments came from Swedspan with some new capacity for furniture maker IKEA.

However, since the publication of Part 1, Puhos Board Oy, a Finnish particleboard manufacturer has closed, removing another 300,000m3 of (albeit theoretical in recent years) capacity from the market. If no buyer can be found – and it seems unlikely that one will – then the equipment will be offered for sale.

Eastern Europe, on the other hand, showed the most activity in new capacity and Turkey also continued to add capacity.         

In this, part 2, of our 2011 survey of capacities in 2010, we look at the mills outside Europe and North America and find that the vast bulk of any new capacity there is going to come from China and South America.

Our total capacity figure for the industry in 2010 in the ‘Rest of the world’ a very slight, almost insignificant increase of 43,000m3 over the 2009 capacity of 30,391m3, to 30,434m3, mainly due to some revised capacity figures having been received by us. The equivalent figure for 2008 was 28,507,000m3.

The coming years, to 2014, will show a more significant increase if all goes according to plan.

As always, we are very pleased to receive information about any mills or production lines that may have escaped our net when we are trawling the globe for information.

We use a range of sources including equipment suppliers, industry experts, relevant publications and not least the mills themselves, who are invited to visit our website www.intermark.plus.com at any time and enter or amend their details, or to email the editor: [email protected]. Such input is always most welcome in helping to ensure that our information is as accurate as possible.

As stated in part l, aggregate European and North American capacity increased by only 0.18% in 2010 compared with that at the end of 2009, solely due to increases in the ‘non-EU15’ countries, which were somewhat offset by decreases within the EU15 and in North America.

Capacity in Europe and North America in 2010 totalled approximately 65,869,000m3, or around 68.4% of the world aggregate total of 96,553,000m3.

Meanwhile, the global aggregate total shows a growth of only approximately 0.6% over 2009’s 95,997,000m3. This compares with a growth of 5.3% between 2008 and 2009.

Within this figure for 2010 lies an increase of around 4.2% in ‘Other Europe’, dwarfing that recorded for the total ‘Rest of the world’ figure.

As we have cautioned before, it must always be remembered that the figures we present in this survey are capacity figures only and that utilisation figures may be very different.

Having said that, as was the case in our survey report last year, of 2009, our Focus on Latin America in the last issue of WBPI (issue 5, 2011) stressed the optimism pervading that region’s panel industry – notably in Brazil – and the likelihood of further expansion of panel making capacity to meet demand.

It is also worth mentioning the strong move to ‘medium density particleboard’, or MDP, in that region, ‘invented’ by Brazil; something which does not seem to have caught on elsewhere in the world, yet at least.

The editor of WBPI and the author continue to extend their thanks and appreciation to all the respondents who took time to complete the enquiry form or to send their comments separately about new projects, closures and changes of ownership during the past year.

We recognise that even after several years our lists are not complete and nor do they always contain the most accurate information for some mills. The timing of new lines or plant modifications which add to capacity can be difficult to confirm against originally announced schedules.

This has become an increasing problem during the recent uncertain economic times. The problem of existing but previously unrecorded mills has a relatively small impact globally but can be significant on a regional basis. Adding them to the lists in any given year will show an apparent growth in capacity unless modifications are made historically, which would likely be confusing for readers.

The total number of mills and lines in the ‘Rest of the world’ and accounts for changes during 2010 – including new openings and closures – as well as one or two modifications to the previous listings.

The net effect of the changes is effectively zero in pure numbers of mills and lines.

We are now showing 800 lines operating globally (2009 listing showed 803), in 718 mills. For some countries, these figures involved informed estimates where concrete information is difficult to obtain – notably Russia and China.

China
We are advised by Dieffenbacher that the Group currently has six contracts to supply continuous particleboard lines to China.

Two of these contracts, Zhejiang Liren Group and Guangxi Huasheng Wood Industry Co Ltd, are for 4ft-wide lines to be supplied by Dieffenbacher subsidiary Shanghai Wood Based Panel Machinery Co Ltd (SWPM).

The other four are to be 8ft-wide CPS press systems, supplied from the Eppingen factory in Germany. All six are due to start production in 2012.

Siempelkamp also reports two new lines in China: One for a company called Baimalong BML which is due to start up in April/May 2012 and one for GaoFeng, due in August or September 2012.

We estimate a total of over 280 particleboard lines in China – a figure which it is difficult to verify as the vast majority are under 100,000m3 capacity – well under in many cases, with capacities as low as 28,000m3/year being listed.

There are many such small mills that remain unidentified and it is for this reason that we show estimated totals for China. These are “educated estimatesand not the actual totals of the mills listed in our main tables and are the best we can offer until we can find an authoritative source of information on all those small mills.

Such estimates are necessary in a few countries where totally accurate information is not available and are shown with ‘est’ against the country totals.

North East Asia
Since Tokyo Board Industry Co Ltd added 112,000m3 to Japan’s capacity in 2009, there have been no other changes reported for this region since our last report and we are not aware of any planned new capacity in the next couple of years.

South East Asia
In Thailand, the new line for Metro Particle started up during 2011 and so its capacity is shown in  ‘Future capacity development’ for 2011, with a total of 410,000m3/year.

Elsewhere in this region, Sumitomo Forestry Co Ltd’s subsidiary Vina Eco Board Ltd (VECO), based in Phu An Thanh, is building a 260,000m3 complete particleboard line supplied by Dieffenbacher, including a 24.5m x 8ft continuous CPS press, which is due to start up in March 2012.

The International Finance Corporation, Washington DC, US, is reported to be contributing US$9m to the project in return for a 20% share in the company.

Industry experts believe that Vietnam is one of the growing economies to be watched for future panel development in the SE Asia region as both its MDF and particleboard manufacturing industries are still in their infancy.

Turning to Indonesia, the continuous line ordered in 2009 by Canang Indah for Medan, (ca 330,000m3 pa) was reported as delayed in our survey last year and there is still no date for its (expected) reinstatement, as far as we are aware at time of going to press.

Other Asia
Star Panel Boards of Mumbai, India, is a joint venture between the Associate Group and Kings Wood and is now known as Associate Décor Ltd. At the end of 2009/early 2010, the company placed a contract with Dieffenbacher for a continuous press line – the first in India – to manufacture particleboard. The line will have a capacity of approximately 270,000m3/year and is scheduled to start production in 2012.

The company has announced that it intends to produce one million cubic metres of panel products (MDF/HDF and particleboard) “by 2014”.

South America
Just as we said last year, this is the region where a lot of action is taking place in the world particleboard industry.

Brazil continues to build capacity in its ‘signature product’ of medium density particleboard (MDP); the vast majority of any new capacity is for MDP rather than conventional particleboard.

In last year’s survey, we showed a few additional capacities as being due to come on stream in 2010, but not all went on stream according to schedule.

The 100,000m3 for Masisa Montenegro did go into production and that leaves a further 100,000m3 to start up during each of 2011, 2012 and 2014.

The 210,000m3 shown as coming on stream at Duratex’s Taquari mill is now expected in 2012 and reduced slightly to 200,000m3.

Similarly, Fibraplac’s Glorinha mill was originally slated for 500,000m3 in 2009, but we were advised last year that commercial production actually started in July 2009. We thus included 50% of its capacity in the 2009 main listings of running mills and 50% as projected to come on stream in 2010. That second tranche is thus included in this year’s main listings.

As we reported last year, the Masisa line in Montenegro ran at 450,000m3/year in 2009 and was set to grow from there. In fact we are advised that a further 100,000m3 of capacity was added during 2011, while a further 100,000m3 will be added in 2012 and again in 2014.

Richard Higgs reported in his Focus on Latin America: Brazil in the October/November issue of WBPI (issue 5, 2011, p42) that Berneck planned new capacity. It intends to build a 700,000m3/year MDP line at its Curitibanos complex, in 2014.

At the end of 2011, Brazil was set to have a capacity of 5.1 million m3 and if all planned additions, which are very substantial capacities by global standards, come on stream during 2012, Brazilian capacity will exceed that of the US.

In Argentina, we are advised that Cuyoplacas is closing its 100,000m3/year mill at Las Heras Mendoza, but opening a new line in General Lavalle with a capacity of 360,000m3/year in 2012. We thus show a net increase of 260,000m3/year.

As pointed out in his report in WBPI Issue 5, 2011 (p44) concerning panel production in general (not specifically particleboard) in Brazil and Chile, our economic commentator Bernard Fuller said that “slowing overall economic growth, plus the winding down of earthquake rebuilding in Chile, will likely dampen, if not reverse, growth in panel production [as opposed to capacity] in 2011-12.”

He continued: “With no disruption of production resulting from a major earthquake, panel production in Chile will approach three million cubic metres in 2011 and exceed that level in 2012”.

He forecast that in Chile in 2012, particleboard/MDP will represent 12% of total panel production.

For Brazil, he said that MDP production soared in 2010, rising 21% on the previous year. He went on to forecast a production volume share for particleboard/MDP in Brazil of 36% and price pressures on all panel products in that country due to the significant increases in capacity.

Australasia
Capacity changes in this region were again absent in 2010 as in 2009, and that is not expected to change in the foreseeable future.

Africa
There is nothing to report from the African continent for 2010, or looking ahead to 2014, at this stage.

Average line capacity show the average line capacities in ‘Rest of the world’ and North America/Europe.

When these are compared with the figures published in our survey last year, we can see that the only significant increases were in North East Asia, to 146.2 (2010 survey 132.5) and in South America, which increased to 158.9 (147.0).

There is very little change noted for the other regions. Even so, average capacities in the rest of the world are still considerably below those in North America and Europe; indeed EU15 average capacity increased very slightly during the year, as it did in 2008, due to the closure of some smaller-capacity mills.

Table 4 monitors the incidence of large scale lines in the ‘Rest of the world’ in 2010.

There is very little change from the figures we published last year, apart from the addition of one line of over 100,000m3/year in China.

The industry in most regions – including Europe, Other Europe and North America – is suggesting that extra-large mills will be the future model and closures of the older, smaller, mills will follow.

Globally, there are four lines or capacity increases/ramping up coming onstream in 2011 to 2013 with capacities of 300,000m3 or more (Table 5): Arauco Chile; Metro Particle Thailand; and Wulian and GaoFeng, China.

Six lines of 200-300,000m3 are expected outside China: Cuyoplacas Argentina; Duratex Taquari; Masisa Cabrero; Vanachai Public Thailand; VECO Vietnam; and Star Panel (now known as Associate Décor) in India.

Meanwhile, in China there are six mills in this category, as shown in Table 5.

Future Capacity Changes
The ‘Rest of the world’ experienced only a 0.32% positive growth in 2010 over 2009, but our forecasts for 2011 (+2.8%) and 2012 (+ a further 10.2%) show stronger capacity growth in future.

Table 5 shows the new projects reported, by country, for 2011-2012. Figures shown with a ‘+’ are additions to already existing mills, while other figures are new project start-ups.

As you will see, 2012 will see eight new lines starting production in China, for a total of 1.92 million m3.

Meanwhile, South America will see five additions to capacity totalling 910,000m3; India will add 270,000m3; and SE Asia 495,000m3.

These figures emphasise the major regions increasing particleboard capacity as being China, South America and South East Asia, as experts have been saying for some time. A similar outlook can be seen for MDF/HDF.

Table 5 shows planned new capacity of which we are aware for 2011 and 2012. We are not aware of any new capacity planned for 2013, so we have only shown two columns. However, we are aware of several projects for 2014 which have already been mentioned within this article.

For 2011, three ramping-up additions to capacity are shown for Brazil. One of those, Masisa Montenegro, reports plus 100,000m3 in 2011 and a further 100,000m3 in 2012.

Then there is Masisa, Cabrero in Chile with +280,000m3 for 2011.

Star Panel India and Metro Particle are also significant additions for 2011.

The small Repinho Reflostestadora line shown for 2011 is utilising a secondhand line from Merbok in Kedah, Malaysia, acquired through German machinery supplier Modul Systeme. Merbok had itself acquired the line secondhand from the receivers of Millplex of Malaysia in 2002. It has a Dieffenbacher single-opening press and Bison moving former.

Including ramp-ups and new projects, Table 5 shows a total of 20 additions to come, while last year’s report showed 12.

Table 6 summarises the capacities for all regions and suggests global total capacity figures for 2008 to 2013.

Melamine faced particleboard is widely used in furniture