Frankfurt, Germany – Germany’s rubber manufacturing sector shrugged off some weakness in the tire market to post a 3.5% sales increase in the first six months of this year, industry figures show.
A first-half revenue total of around €6 billion reflected “healthy foreign demand” and higher raw material prices, reported industry association the WDK. Almost a third of sales, it noted, were generated abroad.
“Another stimulating factor was the domestic business in the highly competitive months of March and May,” according to a 17 Sept report from the Frankfurt-headquartered body.
But there were also negative trends observed in the powerhouse of the European rubber industry.
WDK noted that “the tire manufacturer's volume business has so far largely disappeared,” with deliveries to vehicle makers and replacement-tire volumes both down.
There was, though, a “strong increase” in demand for all-season tires, and overall 'nominal' sales growth in the tire sector was averaging 2.2% for the year.
In the technical elastomeric products (TEE) field, WDK reported high levels of demand from the German automotive industry. Sales to the mechanical engineering, electrical and construction industries also expanded.
But, noted the association,” while Germany's vehicle manufacturers grew abroad, their domestic production was below last year's level.”
Indeed, WDK identified the non-automotive sector as a key driver for increases in production, capacity utilisation and jobs in the first half of 2017.
German rubber companies produced over 410 kilotonnes of TEE, 3.8% more than in the prior-year period. Capacity utilisation rose by 5.7 percentage points to 89.6% and employee numbers rose slightly by 0.2% to almost 50,700.
The WDK (Wirtschaftsverband der deutschen Kautschukindustrie) represents around 160 rubber companies with around 75,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than €11 billion.