The Australian paint (surface finish) market is around 200 million litres of which 100 million litres are architectural paints and the balance are industrial paints. The architectural market has ranged from 104 million litres in 1988 to 100 million in 1994 and 98 million in 1996.
Achitecteral paint market shares in 1997 are
Taubmans (architectural, the industrial division was retained by Courtaulds) division was acquired by Plascon, the paint division of South African company Barlow. Barlow has acquired Bristol so that Bristol and Taubmans will now operate as separate businesses with common management.
Wattyl brand names include Estapol, Solargard, Spartan, Solver, Pascol, Re-Po, Dimet (Asia), Kilrust and Spartan.
Retail outlets are important influences on market penetration that includes the manufacture of house-brand names for retail outlets.
Wattyl notes (Sept 2001)
The company in 2001 announced a net loss of $22.4 million compared with a A$17.68 million profit the previous year. Wattyl said its earnings had been heavily impacted by a number of write downs, which did not involve any cash outflow, related to its Asian and American businesses.
It said discussions were underway with interested buyers for its Asian business. In addition, the company has reviewed the carrying value of intangible assets in its US business and concluded that a reduction was in order. It had streamlined operations in Australia by consolidating eight plants to three, established a more efficient warehouse in NSW and sold two surplus properties with more sales in progress. In Asia, it said manufacturing had ceased in Singapore and a working capital reduction process had been implemented. In its US operations, it had consolidated five plants to three, sold surplus properties and put others on the market, disposed of its trucking fleet in favour of out-sourcing at a lower cost and appointed a new president to commence wide-ranging cost and revenue initiatives.
Concerns and regulations about the effects on health, safety and the environment is reducing the demand for most solvents, notably the chlorinated hydrocarbons used in the surface coatings, adhesives, mastics and other preparations. However within this overall decline, there has been growth in so-called environmentally-friendly oxygenated solvents.
In 1995, the international adoption of the Montreal Protocol and Clean Air Act promoted the phase out of solvents that deplete the ozone layer. In the US, their Clean Air Act limits emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) restricting the use of hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents and ketones. In the US, Europe and other developed regions, environmental protection agencies are seeking voluntary reductions in the use of other solvents notably benzene, toluene, xylenes, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, chloroform and methylene chloride. The largest reductions of these solvents has occurred in paints, coatings and industrial cleaners. The incentives to reduce VOCs is anticipated to continue with ongoing expectations of regulations being enacted through this decade and extending into newly developing regions including Asia.
In the coatings industry, about half of the volume is in hydrocarbon-based solvents are the aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons that are now being challenged by the oxygenated solvents such as ketones, esters, alcohols and glycol ethers. In consequence, oxygenated solvents are anticipated to grow by 1 to 2 per cent per year, against a decline of a similar percentage for hydrocarbon solvents. Only partly undermining their potential are the new technologies in coatings such as waterborne coatings and powder coatings-
The most notable of these oxygenated solvents are the ketones, MEK, MIBK and acetone; the high volume alcohols, ethanol, butanol and propanol, and the esters, primarily butyl and ethyl acetates. Other solvents include the low-boiling esters, methyl acetate recently exempted as a VOC in the US and perceived as having good potential in coatings and cosmetics.
Union Carbide is a leading producer of oxygenated solvents and in the last few years, the company has completed major investments at several of its solvent facilities, including for butyl glycol ethers and a new butanol unit.
Dow Chemical Company, also a major supplier of chlorinated solvents, supplies oxygenated solvents including propylene (p) and ethylene (e) series for its oxygenated line. The e-series is growing at 0 to 2 percent while the p-series glycol ethers at 3 to 5 percent per year having become popular in cleaners and coatings. These solvents have grown to supply the move to the waterborne products that are replacing the traditional aromatic and aliphatic solvents. The water solvent requires glycol ether-type solvents.
 The shift from hydrocarbon and chlorinated solvents has also stimulated some demand for terpenes, some ethers and hydrogen peroxide described as ‘green solvents’, that are biodegradable and pose little threat of air pollution or ozone damage.
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