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Record production levels in the European tube industry

In 2007, the manufacturers of flexible aluminium, plastic and laminate tubes who are organised in the european tube manufacturers association (etma) broke through the 10 billion barrier of tubes produced for the first time. With a total of 10.1 billion tubes, the industry recorded growth of approximately 2 per cent. The volume of the total European market is estimated to be roughly 13 billion tubes.

With a 42 per cent share of total production, aluminium tubes retain their lead-ing position, followed by plastic tubes with 30 per cent and laminate tubes with 28 per cent.

The markets for cosmetic, pharmaceutical and dental care products remain the most important market areas for tubes. These three key markets account for 86 per cent of total production, with the cosmetics market - with a share of around 43 per cent - representing by far the strongest market area. The share of tubes supplied to the dental care and pharmaceutical industries is 22 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. The remaining 15 per cent are used for food, household and chemical/technical products.

In 2007, the tube industry once again benefited from the vigorous demand from the cosmetics industry, which is increasingly focusing on tubes for the packag-ing of products. - There is a trend towards high-quality finishing, which can be seen in sophisticated closure caps, embossing, special shapes and the combina-tion of different printing processes - says Gregor Spengler, Secretary General of etma.

Demand from the pharmaceutical, dental care and food market areas also showed a slight increase in 2007. Only the demand for tubes for household and chemical/technical products fell slightly. - Customers and consumers appreciate the advantages of tubes: they are light in weight, can't be broken, easy to use, offer optimum hygiene, and the right amount of product can be dispensed - adds Gregor Spengler.

The European tube industry is expecting market growth to continue in 2008. Production capacities continue to be well or even very well utilised, with the result that delivery times for individual tube diameters and specifications may be as long as 12 weeks.

The cost situation remains tense. The rising costs of raw materials, energy and transport are hitting profits. In combination with high-quality complex finishing and shorter product life cycles there is a strong need for compensation, accord-ing to leading tube manufacturers.

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