News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 27, 2009

Notch Releases Carbon Black World Data Book

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:30 am

Notch Consulting is proud to announce the publication of the Carbon Black World Data Book 2008. Published annually, the Carbon Black World Data Book is an essential resource for anyone involved in the carbon black industry, whether as a supplier of feedstock, a producer, or a purchaser. The report provides data on carbon black capacity, capacity utilization, production, imports, exports, apparent consumption, demand by market (passenger tires, truck tires, other tires, non-tire rubber goods, and specialty) and demand by grade (tread, carcass, and other), as well as market value and average pricing. Rubber consumption and tire production also are provided. Data include both a historical series for all years going back to 1997 as well as forecasts for 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2025. This edition of the report is based on the latest data available on the global motor vehicle, tire, rubber, and carbon black industries.

The report was originally scheduled for November, but Notch decided to delay publication due to the emergence of the global financial crisis in September/October. The high degree of uncertainty in the financial sector — particularly the freezing of credit markets — that characterized the first few months of the current downturn made it almost impossible to make accurate forecasts for consumer-related industries such as motor vehicles, tires, rubber, and carbon black. Now, with the benefit of several more months of data (not to mention numerous conversations with suppliers all over the world), the assumptions and forecasts in the Carbon Black World Data Book have been substantially revised to reflect the current economic situation.

Coming off five years of unusually strong volume growth during the 2002 to 2007 period, the global carbon black industry saw fundamentals deteriorate steadily over the course of 2008, and by year-end the industry was facing its most challenging conditions in at least 25 years, and perhaps ever. Even prior to the emergence of the global financial crisis early in the fourth quarter, 2008 was shaping up to be one of the most difficult years on record for the carbon black industry, as steadily escalating feedstock costs in the first half of the year put intense pressure on profit margins and working capital due to contract lag. At the same time, OEM tire markets declined sharply along with new vehicle sales (with the SUV segment especially affected), while replacement tire markets suffered due to high gas prices (which reduced miles driven).

Suppliers have responded to these difficulties by scaling back or postponing expansions, shutting down or idling under-utilized capacity, and implementing operational improvements to reduce operating costs. Even with these measures, 2009 will be an extremely challenging year, particularly in the first half. The Carbon Black World Data Book chronicles the industry’s current conditions in detail, and provides forecasts for short term recovery as well as long term growth.

To get more information or to order this report, write to info AT, call Notch Consulting at 413-253-7733, or visit Notch’s website.

Below is an Overview and Table of Contents from the report.

Carbon Black World Data Book 2008 – Overview & Contents (PDF)

Kumho’s US Plant Delayed One Year

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 6:15 am

Tire Business recently reported that Kumho Tire USA has confirmed its commitment to building a new tire plant in the United States, but that the project would be delayed by about one year due to the downturn, or until about year-end 2010. Kumho broke ground on the plant in May 2008. As originally envisioned, the $165 million plant in Bibb County, Georgia was scheduled to start production by the end of 2009 with an initial capacity of 2.1 million passenger tires, subsequently raised to 3.15 million passenger tires. However, in November 2008, Kumho announced that construction would be delayed due to the economic downturn.

Tire Business reports that

Dealers attending the company´s annual meeting, held at a Dominican Republic resort, were told construction of the factory has been delayed for one year as company officials “sit back and re-evaluate how to best use that facility.”

Jim Milhaupt, national vice president of sales for Kumho Tire U.S.A., reiterated that the tire maker “has no plans to scrap it. It´s just a matter of time when we want to make that plant a reality.”

The plant was intended to serve primarily OE markets, which have been hit hard by the downturn.

Phillips Expects Cogen Unit to be up Soon

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:00 am

Yesterday, this blog reported that Phillips Carbon Black had announced that due to a technical snag, the commissioning of a 30 MW co-generation power plant at the company’s carbon black plant in Durgapur, India was delayed. Now Notch has heard from a source at the company that it experienced some technical problems during the plant start-up, which are being investigated. The company expects the unit to be up by end February 2009.

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