By Liz White, UT staffHeidelberg, Germany-Germany should see stronger growth in the polyurethanes sector in 2005, with annual consumption of "significantly more than 800 kilotonnes," according to Dr Hans-W. Schloz, managing director of the FSK-the German plastics foamers association, speaking at the group's recent two-day meeting, 23-4 Nov. In the opening presentation at the Heidelberg meeting, Schloz (pictured above) looked at the complete value chain of the polyurethanes sector, commenting that the "single most important factor recently has been raw material price rises,"-and the whole structure of the supply chain, the balance of production capacity and demand.One of the biggest difficulties is how rapidly and dramatically prices have risen, Schloz stressed, adding that such surges are especially tough for those supplying into the automotive sector, where higher prices are particularly hard to pass on. Schloz said a total of 2.7 million tonnes of polyurethane is currently processed in western Europe, with Germany continuing to be the largest individual market for PU processing. It is also still significantly above the total of 500 ktpa currently processed in eastern Europe, he emphasised. Nevertheless, one concern is "the transfer of the PU industry to the east or Asia. This movement has taken place in the last 10 years, and is probably completed to a large extent," the FSK director said.Germany's good market position means sales for its polyurethane processors have reached about Euros 6000 million (over $7000 million), out of a total of Euros 14 000 million in Europe, he said. There are more than 700 PU processing companies in Germany, said Schloz-although for many of these PU represents only a small part of their turnover. Only 80 of these are doing a lot of work in PU, he said, with the rest having only small PU departments.A full report on Schloz's data about the PU sector in Germany, and covering other presentations at the 23-24 Nov meeting, will appear in the Feb/March 2006 issue of Urethanes Technology. "