For a start, we have the Ligna exhibition in Hannover, Germany, to look forward to in May. The show is earlier than usual this year, running from May 6 to 10. Also unusually, Ligna is followed, rather than preceded, by the Interzum exhibition for furniture and interiors, which takes place in Cologne, Germany, on May 13-16.

These two must-see events always offer a wide range of new ideas, products and technologies and both are considered the premier world event in their respective fields, attracting a very international selection of exhibitors and visitors. We will be running previews in our next issue.

Talking of exhibitions, Acimall, the organiser of Xylexpo, the biennial woodworking exhibition held in Milan, Italy, that alternates with Ligna, has announced that the event will take place in Milan again in 2014, though issues concerning falling attendance by exhibitors and visitors, and the damage from its rival show in Rimini, appear still to be unresolved.

In this issue we report some significant regrouping in the world panel manufacturing industry as the year commences.

Pfleiderer, under new owner Atlantik SA, appears to be rising from the ashes of the former insolvent company and has even placed an order with Dieffenbacher for a new particleboard line for its Neumarkt factory in Germany.

In North America, the purchase of all Flakeboard’s shares by Arauco has been completed, giving Arauco eight mills in that continent.

Also in North America, Georgia-Pacific is to acquire 16 panel making facilities from Temple- Inland, thus expanding its market reach in the US.

If the anticipated upturn in US housebuilding, and therefore wood and panel consumption, is realised, these companies would seem very likely to benefit, suggesting that their timing just may be spot on.

Meanwhile, much further south, Duratex has increased its shareholding in Tablemac of Colombia and it is expected that Duratex will own all of that company before long. However, the market prospects for that region still appear rather uncertain.

Also in this issue, in our Focus on Europe, we bring ‘insider’ reports from our Russia correspondent, Eugen Gerden, that a new OSB and a new particleboard line are in preparation.

Already, 2013 seems to be shaping up to be an interesting, and we hope lucky, year!