Poland produces approximately 425 thousand MT/Yr of Towel and Tissue (T&T) paper. That makes Poland the fifteenth largest T&T producing nation worldwide and sixth largest in the European Union (EU) with about 5% of the EU capacity. Poland avoided a recession through the 2008-09 economic downturns. Nevertheless the country’s GDP per capita remains significantly below the EU average and unemployment continues to exceed the EU average. While the Polish economy has performed well over the past five years, growth slowed in 2012,in part due to the ongoing economic difficulties in the euro zone.The economy’s health over the past five years has fuelled some growth in T&T production. About half of Poland’s nineteen machines have been added since 2000 with the three newest machines added in the last five years. Poland’s cost position is favourable to the large producing countries in the EU so growth could be expected to continue as the EU economies recover. Poland’s population is approaching 40 million people and the economy is 21sin the world. The Polish economy is heavily driven toward the service sector with some manufacturing and very little agriculture.
The economy had been growing coming out of the worldwide recession but in 2012 it fell back slowing significantly to 2%. Economic uncertainties, infrastructure shortcomings and a relatively poor business environment will present challenges as Poland moves forward with the recovering EU economies.
Poland’s T&T mills are geographically dispersed throughout the country with newer installations tending to locate in the West near the German and Czech boarders (Map 1). The country ranks sixth among the nineteen T&T producers in the EU (Figure 1) and sixth in the number of operating machines (Figure 2). T&T machines in the EU vary from narrow two-metre machines to six metres. The machinesmin Poland are on the narrow end of the trim range for the region, with the average being 2.5 metres (Figure 3). However, some recent additions have been wider resulting in higher capacity. Mill production in Poland is, on average, on the low side compared to other major producing countries in the EU at less than 50,000 MT/Yr while the technical age of Poland’s machines is about average for these same major producing countries (Figure 4).
Fibre mix in Poland’s mills is a 60/40 balance of recycled fibre to market virgin pulp, a deviation from the larger producing countries that rely more heavily on market pulp (Figure 5). While recycled fibre is present in most countries, it is not in heavy use by major producers. Integrated recycled fibre does provide some smaller producing countries an advantage over the purchased fibre consumed by larger producing countries. Poland’s cost position in the EU is neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by the integration of recycled fibre in its furnish mix (Figure 6).
Poland does hold an advantaged cost position compared to other major producing countries primarily driven by energy and labour cost.
Poland’s T&T machine production rates are evenly split with machines ranging from the very smallest (producing less than 10,000 MT/Yr) to more moderate levels, producing in the 40,000 MT/Yr range (Figure 7). Some 15% of Poland’s machines stand apart from these lower capacity machines producing in the 60,000 MT/Yr range. Machine trims are narrow with half of the machines being less than 3 metres (Figure 8). About 15% of the machines are wider falling in the 5.5 metre class. Machine speeds are on the low end of the speed spectrum with around 70% of the machines on the low end of 0 -1,000 mpm (Figure 9). Some 8% of the remaining machines operate with very respectable speeds in the 2,500 mpm range. On the international scale, Poland’s machines tend to mirror the average capacity and average age (Figure 10). A noteworthy observation is that Poland’s T&T business is international in ownership with five of the mills being headquartered outside of Poland (Figure 11).
The source for market data and analysis in this article is FisherSolve™. Data tables behind Figures 1 – 11 can be obtained from Fisher International. E-mail requests to [email protected]
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