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14 percent sales growth in German plastics industry

Kruse expressed concern about cost pressures and the need to pass these on more frequently than in the past. Although he praised the German government for its bureaucratic handling of short-time working needs during the crisis, he was critical of the government’s energy policy.

The EEG renewable energy law that applies a surcharge on all electricity bills to raise funds for development of energy from renewable sources puts German producers at a severe disadvantage with other countries and is considered to be a threat Germany as a production location in the medium term. This is most apparent with German energy costs double those of France, Kruse pointed out.

Also on the subject of sustainability, Kruse was unconcerned about actions in other countries to ban plastic bags or limit them to biodegradable versions. He says this is due to the introduction of Dual System Deutschland (DSD) around 20 years ago to manage collection and recycling of post-consumer waste.

“There are no amounts of plastic bags flying around in Germany in quantities worth mentioning. The question of a ban does not even arise, as there is no problem,” he said.

On the other hand, Kruse stressed that GKV is involved through the EuPC umbrella association in support of projects aimed at cleaning the seas and avoiding their contamination with plastics waste.

Developments in Germany with lightweight automotive construction with carbon fiber composites were praised by Kruse as a significant contribution to sustainability.
Looking ahead by referring to the annual GKV survey of its members, Kruse pointed out to average 83.4 percent capacity utilization and order levels averaging 9.3 weeks of production, compared with 6.3 weeks at the beginning of 2010.

While the survey had shown 87 percent of the companies as having been able to increase sales in 2010, 72 percent continue now by expecting higher sales in 2011. These positive signs are also expressed by 28 percent of the companies stating that they will be investing in expanding capacity in 2011.

Kruse looked ahead to likely 2011 results by saying that the German plastics processing industry should be able to regain the level of sales achieved in the record year of 2008, as this would require growth in the year of just 2 percent. He was reserved about this however, not being prepared to give a firm forecast and stating instead “I would like to talk one year from now of more growth in 2011, but I cannot be sure.