By Helen Morris, Tissue World editor
Mill manager Eric Taylor has a seemingly simple but extraordinarily demanding ethic known to anyone working successfully in industry: ‘Each day we assess the problems … otherwise known as opportunities.’
Taylor, the subject of our Day in the Life feature as boss at Cascades Tissue Group’s North Carolina site, certainly has fewer problems – there are many reasons for that – than his equivalent in Argentina, where problems-known-as opportunities are stacking up.
The threat of hyperinflation – 28% tissue value growth on the back on inflation in 2013 – government price controls on 500 key brands including all major bathroom tissue brands, a burgeoning hard-discounting model helped by that distorted market seeing the rise of private labels, dominant neighbours in Brazil and Mexico, the prospect of yet another financial crash in a decade and more history of economic turmoil … by most indicators the reasons which led our Euromonitor report to suggest Argentina’s tissue market is “fighting for survival.”
Well, I have been – to use the time honoured phrase – on the ground in Buenos Aires and that’s not how it looks from there.
We must beware the generalised analysis compared to individual performance. In fact, all tissue producers in Buenos Aires are at full capacity: at Celulosa Argentina and Papelera San Andrés de Giles the glass is very much half full and problems are being viewed by the Eric Taylor work ethic.
A worldwide decline in its primary business of printing and writing paper is prompting Celulosa Argentina to move into tissue. A new Voith TM will add 30,000tpy of quality tissue to a market which it maintains is showing “substantial growth”.
Andrés Gagliardi heads up the sales department at Papelera San Andrés de Giles. He reports changing cultural attitudes that show significant promise: “A shift in incomes … people becoming wealthier … the middle class growing … their consumption habits changing.” The phenomenally useful kitchen roll is catching on: “Before, they didn’t know about it. Now it’s become a habit for many that they can’t do without.”
So that’s the view from two mills within Argentina. There’s a grim joke about the economy going the rounds there – at least it’s not as bad as in Venezuela, where things are so bad the military has moved into toilet paper production.
Our analyses do recognise one central point. If the country were to re-balance its economy and incomes were to grow, then consumers are primed to offer up a huge area of growth.
Tissue World Americas 2014: Miami show preview
With its continuous growth, the tissue market in the Americas is offering huge potential to international exhibitors that are looking to develop their business and Tissue World Americas is the perfect place to cultivate new opportunities in the region.
Significantly, 2014 also marks the special launch of the brand-new Retail and Distributors Insight Forum. At the world’s largest tissue trade show, retail and AfH tissue managers can now gain unique value-chain insight. The Tissue Retailers and Distributors Insight Forum (TRIF) will give tissue sourcing, category and business development managers unique insight and understanding of the $80 billion tissue products category.
In this issue, TW previews the many new and long-established companies that will be exhibiting and offering their latest input at the trade show。