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Europe on road to recovery

MARKETS for aggregates and ready-mixed concrete in Europe have fallen by 25% during the recession, and trading conditions continue to be difficult in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Greece. However, industry marketing consultancy firm BDS Marketing Research Ltd sees improved markets ahead.

An analysis of the aggregates market in 20 European countries shows that production in 2009 was around 2.8 billion tonnes. This was the lowest figure since before the start of the decade.

BDS is forecasting a recovery of 1.3% in 2011, strengthening to 1.9% in 2012. It says that although market has been decimated in some countries, it is unlikely that production can fall much further. Recovery will be led by Poland where a number of major infrastructure schemes are planned. Other European countries are likely to see more limited growth but prospects are likely to be better than they are now.

These conclusions are contained in a report undertaken by BDS Marketing
Research, entitled: ‘An analysis of the markets for aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt in 20 European countries.’ All the major countries in western, northern and central Europe are included in the survey.

BDS estimates that HeidelbergCement are the largest aggregates producer in Europe, followed by CEMEX and Holcim. The consultancy expects better growth in the ready-mixed concrete sector, with recovery expected to be stronger in the private sector, which consumes more concrete than aggregates. Demand for concrete in Europe is expected to be 5% higher in 2012 than at present.

Asphalt producers have been less affected by the recession than aggregates or ready mixed concrete companies. Asphalt production is down by an estimated 13% during the recession, representing just half the decline experienced in aggregates and concrete markets. This is due to the initiatives that many governments undertook in 2009 to increase public investment to stave off the worst of the recession.

However, BDS say future prospects are not encouraging, with many governments now cutting back on public expenditure. The consultancy is forecasting an improvement of just 0.3% in asphalt demand in 2011 and 0.9% in 2012, due entirely to anticipated increased markets in Poland. In the other 19 countries covered in the report, BDS forecast an overall decrease in the asphalt market during the next two years.

BDS estimate that Bouygues are the largest asphalt producer in Europe, followed by Vinci and Basalt.

For further information contact BDS Marketing.


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