On the first day, an early-evening presentation, prior to dinner, came from Rand Merchant Bank’s Mamello Matikinca and Danie van Tonder, whose topic was the global and South African economy. They painted the backdrop against which the entire South African economy – including the plastics packaging sector – is trading, particularly focusing on the rand and where our currency is heading. There will be a stronger rand, in time, they predicted, stating that the rand needs to remain undervalued in the next few years to help the economy adjust. They pointed out that the rand will eventually correct (‘it always has done’) and estimated dollar exchange rates of 10.20 by the end of this year and 9.70 by the end of 2015.
On day two, a full morning’s programme included two visitors from the UK – both from the global PCI Consulting Group – Philip Marshall of PCI Xylenes & Polyesters, a consultant for the polyester and raw materials markets, and David Swift of PCI PET Packaging, Resin & Recycling.
Both gave valuable insights. From Philip Marshall, delegates learnt much about the world situation for raw materials, while David Swift provided trends in PET pricing and gave a global overview of PET recycling.
Then it was the turn of the purveyors of converting equipment. Ashley Henry of Husky Injection Molding Systems was first up, followed by Bertrand Cottard of Sidel.
Ashley’s particular focus was on the HyPET HPP5 preform moulding system that provides exceptional preform quality, while Bertrand highlighted Sidel’s ability to provide a complete line, from blow moulding to filling and labelling equipment, as well as conveying and packaging systems.
The line-up on the third morning included Nick Ryan of Colormatrix with a review of developments in additives, barriers and colorants; Kiril Dimitrov of Woolworths, who provided delegates with a review of consumer megatrends as they affect PET; Maphuti Kgare and Lionel Archillies, whose duet outlined the DTI’s programme of incentives for the plastics industry; and finally the CSIR’s Dr Linda Godfrey, whose topic was the road ahead for waste management in South Africa.
Local supply – getting the picture
Until 2009, two PET resin manufacturers dominated the local market – SANS Fibres and Hosaf, the latter a subsidiary of KAP International Holdings.
At the beginning of 2009, SANS was producing an impressive 90 000 tons/annum from its two PET resin plants in Cape Town, while its younger contender, Hosaf, was pushing capacity at its Durban plant up to 60 000 tons/annum. Both were taking advantage of anticipated growth in the PET market.
Later that year, however, SANS stunned the industry by announcing its withdrawal from the PET resin market, citing a change in business strategy.
This was fortuitous timing for Hosaf. Having embarked on a R200-million expansion project, raising production capacity to 128 000 tons/annum, Hosaf was well positioned to take over the lion’s share of South Africa’s PET resin market and the company remains a core supplier to leading converters such as Mpact, Boxmore, Nampak, Polyoak and Astrapak.
There’s still a steady increase in PET demand says Steven Bird, Hosaf marketing director, with an annual growth of around 8%. ‘We also see major growth for the PET market in developing African countries, especially among South Africa’s neighbours,’ he adds.
Resin is also imported from China, South East Asia and the Middle East. Last year around 40 000 tons of PET was imported.
Taking local production and imported PET resin combined, almost 70% goes into the manufacture of beverage bottles.
Growth in PET recycling
A vital factor in the PET story has been the growth of PET recycling. As reported by PETCO at its recent AGM (see page 75), this has grown from less than 10 000 tons in 2005 to a current figure of something approaching 60 000 tons of post-consumer PET bottles recycled in South Africa.
Most of this recycled material is currently used in manufacturing polyester fibre but a significant development is Mpact’s recent announcement of a major investment destined to produce an annual 20 000 tons of food-grade recycled material (see article below), which, added to Extrupet’s existing capacity, will see a greater focus on completing PET’s circular cycle.
Extrupet is another success story, and the company was honoured at this year’s PETCO Awards, sharing the honour of being named PET Recycling Partners of the Year with Sen Li Da and Kaytech.
This accolade recognises organisations that are proactively and effectively growing the volumes of recycled PET, creating employment opportunities, promoting collection, maintaining quality environmental standards, adhering to fair labour practice and generally furthering PETCO’s aims.