Published: June 2018
BOPP film has been a highly successful flexible polymer substrate. Originally developed in the 1960s as a replacement for cellulose films, it has since grown far beyond this niche driving the development of new applications in packaging and industrial products.
However, it is also an industry that has been characterised by investment cycles which has created periods of oversupply and margin pressure, and driving a trend for applications, particularly in the packaging sector, to commoditise. It has thus become an industry of high competitive intensity, which has been further exacerbated by the volatility of raw material resin pricing and supply in recent years.
Much of this investment has been in China which is by far the largest market both in terms of production and demand. Traditionally production was geared to the local market, with producers managing the supply/demand balance by operating at low rates or not all. However, more recently investments in high speed high output lines are driving Chinese producers to increasingly export and even invest abroad, with the power to disrupt markets. This imperative is likely to grow given the level of overcapacity and a slowdown in the growth rate for the Chinese economy. It will also drive significant restructuring and corporate realignments as those with old assets mothball or shutdown production and the less successful new investors look to get out of the industry.
The fastest growth in investment in recent years has been in India which has seen capacity nearly double over the past five years, driven by the opening up of its retail sector and the growth in consumer spending on packaged goods, but also by the export-oriented nature of its leading film producers. Most Indian producers are also leading global suppliers in BOPET film and are starting to establish that position within the BOPP film industry as well.
After decades of low investment, the established markets in Europe and North America are seeing a surge in new lines that will further challenge the margins and competitive positioning of those that have not upgraded their equipment. With margins, under pressure, speciality applications commoditising, these areas are ripe for further restructuring and corporate change.
The movement of converting operations to countries with lower labour costs is also having implications for the future location of BOPP film operations around the world with investors looking at locations in areas such as Eastern Europe, North Africa and Central America.
Given the shifting structure and changing nature of demand it as important as ever for players in the market to be armed with the best possible information in order to develop successful strategies and benefit from market opportunities as they arise. To help players in the BOPP market, Applied Market Information, which has an unrivalled reputation for its knowledge and understanding of the dynamics and development of the BOPP industry around the world, published in June 2018, an update of its biennial global bi-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film market report.
The report provides an accurate and detailed assessment of the current state of the BOPP film market around the world and detail demand in each region by film type and end use markets. It provides an invaluable source of information for any company currently manufacturing film or serving the BOPP industry and for those companies considering market entry or a new investment. The detailed analysis, statistical database and company listing which the report gives will enable companies to formulate coherent strategic plans for their future development within the BOPP industry and prepare meaningful market strategies to fully exploit business opportunities.