Raute Provides Market Snapshots
In its annual report, the plywood and LVL machinery and technology manufacturer, Raute, said 2012 was a clear improvement over the past few years, including a EUR 50 million order for machinery and equipment for the reconstruction of the fire-destroyed Paneles Arauco plywood mill in Chile, and a EUR 14 million project for a LVL mill in Germany. Tapani Kiiski, president and CEO, emphasized that uncertainties abound in 2013 but there are positive developments in certain regions.
“My strongest expectations this year are focused on the emerging markets in Russia and Asia,” Kiiski said. “The outlook for North America has also improved from the extremely low level of the previous year, and new projects are being planned in Europe.”
The Raute reports notes that Russian plywood manufacturers are developing new innovative products and tapping boldly into new markets. The country’s plywood production has doubled over the past decade, and export and domestic demand is expected to increase. The growth is driven by increasing construction activity in the Moscow and St. Petersburg areas in particular.
China is the world’s largest producer of plywood and its production has increased almost five-fold in the past decade, and is expected to continue to grow though less intensively, according to Raute. While the current technology is “highly manual and simple,” the industry is expected to develop rapidly during the next few years as the quality demands imposed by export markets require more modern manufacturing processes.
Plantation forests will enable plywood production growth in the coming years in Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Raute. Due to the change in the raw material base, Raute expects the existing machine base to be rebuilt and modernized.
Continued growth is expected in Chile as new production capacity is built based on plantation forests. For the big forest industry companies, plywood manufacture is an important part of managing the optimal use of wood. Although plywood consumption is on the increase in Chile, most of the plywood is still exported to North America and Europe.
North America is the world’s second largest plywood producer and the largest LVL producer, according to Raute, where the top five companies produce 65% of the plywood and 85% of the LVL. However, within the past decade, plywood production has declined by half. A housing recovery is instrumental in renewed growth.
Raute reported it has continued to invest heavily in research and development, including the transfer of its Chinese plant into larger facilities, thus enhancing the company’s production capacity, quality control and delivery times in that region.