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Tissue makers upbeat at Tissue World 2009

  • Despite global recession, outlook and mood remains positive for tissue.
  • 2.8% worldwide growth predicted for 2009
Tissue Conference
Tissue Conference

Going against the trend of global pessimism, the giant Tissue World 2009 show which was held during 24- 26 March in Nice, France was a big success. Tissue makers and converters, as well as suppliers and exhibitors, all indicated that business is generally holding up quite well, in sharp contrast to many other industries and sectors.

Around 1500 tissue makers and converters were on hand from 83 countries worldwide to visit the trade show. In addition the Tissue World Conference drew a crowd of 240 delegates. The general mood was very positive at the event, with most tissue makers saying they are continuing to be profitable. In addition, trade show exhibitors were all very pleased with the quantity and quality of inquiries they were getting about new projects and investments.

The Keynote address, held by Jan Jahansson, CEO of the global hygiene products supplier SCA, got the meeting off to a good start. Focusing on challenges facing tissue Johansson analyzed the current situation and encouraged out of the box thinking with suggestions about ‘How to innovate in a commodity market’. “Differentiation,” he stated, “will ultimately be the key to pricing power and the route to long term profitability.”

Following this, tissue market expert Esko Uutela of RISI presented his outlook for the tissue business. Being relatively insensitive to economic cycles, he said, tissue consumption on a global basis is expected to grow at a respectable pace of about 2.8% in 2009, down from an estimated 3.3% in 2008, and popping up to 4.5% in 2010. The long-term trend over the past 20 years is about4%per annum. Jan Johansson, CEO of the global hygiene products supplier SCA Keith Redway, from University of Westminster, London UK, presented research results from an extremely interesting study on Drying Efficiency and Hygiene of Paper Towels with Electric Hand Dryers. The speech had a big impact on the audience, with hundreds of delegates discussing it afterward. The visual impact of the spread of bacteria, including e.coli, by jet-air hand dryers throughout restrooms was repulsive. Paper hand towels, Redway said, offered a much better combination drying efficiency and bacteria containment, than either traditional hand dryers or the new jet-air dryers.

In total, the Tissue World conference included approximately 50 interesting and informative presentations on management, market, technical and operational issues impacting the business. Participants at the conference included a wide range of positions, from presidents and vice presidents of many of the world’s tissue companies to key operating people from tissue making and converting operations around the globe.

Overall, the tissue industry managers seemed very pleased to be in sunny Nice and to be in such a relatively good economic position, considering the current world situation. Plans are already underway for the next Tissue World event in Nice, which will take place on 28-31 March 2011 at the same venue.

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