Kissimmee, Florida –“Business is strong in Nafta, but it is not quite as good in Asia and South America,” said Steve Burns, vice president Americas of Huntsman’s polyurethane division.
Nafta looking strong for Huntsman in 2015
Burns was speaking on the sidelines of the CPI meeting here in early October. He added that US growth comes from the flourishing automotive industry and the construction sector. “These show how polyurethane has the ability to grow above GDP by substitution,” he added.
This year the US “may reach an all-time record for car sales in the US,” Burns said. He added “There is a lot of interest in the technical packages and pent-up demand as people held on to clunkers” which they are now replacing, he said.
This helps polyurethane because of the large volumes inside the car, and also because it is substituting for other materials in cars, he added.
The construction industry for Huntsman in North America is also “quite strong, residential housing is up a bit on last year,” he said, adding: “but we had high expectations of insulated panels and at the half year the market is not quite as good as we thought it would be.”
There is a greater emphasis in the market on condominiums, and multiple occupancy buildings, Burns said. “There are fewer family houses in the mix,” the Huntsman vice president said.
As the construction industry moves from products which emitted formaldehyde to oriented strand board, which use polyurethane binders, this is helping growth in the sector, he added.
Burns also praised the CPI for “doing an outstanding job”, working with the industry to make sure that spray-foam contractors are aware of the need to wear the correct PPE. (Personal Protective Equipment)
Burns also said that the CPI’s had “got the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to listen to industry and explain the amount of work that would be needed to change blowing agents and the need to reformulate and test systems.”
Finally, Burns said that he was very excited by the recent purchase of Tecnoelastomeri. This, he said helps to broaden the interest which Huntsman has in polyurethane further into new areas in a similar way to the purchase of Oxid a speciality polyol producer did. He is also confirmed his plans to keep the Tecnoelastomeri range of equipment.