Rising imports add to beleaguered coatings industry’s woes

01 July 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914886

Chemical & Allied Industries

THE South African coatings industry has experienced a challenging year as a result of escalating raw material and electricity tariffs, the national economic slump and other disruptive factors such as load shedding, Aggie Argyrou, chairman of the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA), told the association’s AGM in Pretoria.

“Transport costs were negatively affected by the rising price of fuel, the depreciation of the rand, and the difficulty in recovering excess costs from already financially struggling consumers,” Argyrou, who is a director of Warrior Paints, said in his chairman’s report.

“My experience after 31 years in the coatings industry is that DIY home improvement paint sales are invariably one of the first market categories to show a decline when the economy is not doing well.”

Rising imports add to beleaguered coatings industry’s woes

He is more optimistic about business prospects for the year ahead and urged SAPMA members to place more emphasis on the training of staff, stressing that every training programme offered by SAPMA was now accredited with the various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and government funded.

SAPMA Vice Chairman Sanjeev Bhatt urged South African coating manufacturers to keep a close eye on the increasing level of imports of raw materials.

Bhatt, MD of Synthetic Polymers, told the meeting that some SA paint producers had applied for a temporary rebate on the import duty that applied to titanium dioxide which will assist in lowering the cost of locally manufactured coatings. Solvent-borne resin producers had also applied for duty protection on acrylic resins following the sudden spurt of resin imports from countries such as Taiwan, Egypt and the UAE.

“I would urge coatings manufacturers to keep a close watch on imported products landing in South Africa to ensure that the volume of cheap and sub-standard imports is controlled,” he told the meeting.

SAPMA has in the past expressed concern about the lack of suitable import duty protection to prevent the dumping of raw materials and resins and reminded the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that any product imported into SA would have to meet the compulsory specifications of the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS).

The association has also asked the DTI to utilise the services of the NRCS to control any imports that could threaten the survival of the industry.

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