“Since 2008 the European parquet industry has been in dire straits, and 2012 will be yet another challenging year”. Lars Gunnar Andersen, president of the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) summed up the current situation of the European parquet industry at the FEP general assembly in Istanbul on June 8.
This organisation brings together representatives of 21 European countries, and this yearly event gives a good idea of the state of the markets. They are not doing very well at all, and prospects for the second half of the year seem hardly optimistic. As a matter of fact bad news just keeps coming from everywhere. Europe’s ongoing financial crisis, the political upheavals in the Arab world and the deadly events in Syria are generating a great many uncertainties.
“The prevailing climate is not good for the economy, and indeed the eurozone economy shrank by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2011, with no foreseeable improvement for the first four months of 2012”. As to the parquet industry in Europe, the president of the FEP points out that its situation is highly uneven. The south of the EU is struggling with serious difficulties, namely Italy and particularly Spain, two countries which combined account for 20% of the parquet consumption in Europe. Construction in these two countries is at a standstill and order books have hit rock bottom. Elsewhere, in central and northern Europe, the situation appears to be less critical, however Lars Gunnar Andersen notes “a very rapidly evolving overnight market”.
French businessman Jean-Luc Roy confirms his analysis. Panaget, the company Roy manages, generates 85% of its turnover in France. “The first quarter of 2012 was satisfactory enough, but since this spring clients seem to have adopted a wait-and-see attitude which affects sales”. No improvement is expected for the second half of this year. The drop in the number of planning applications in France since the beginning of this year is no good sign.
Despite this precarious state of the industry, the president of the FEP remains optimistic. “Parquet sales are on the rise significantly in certain important countries, and its relatively small market shares can only go up. Clients are ready to pay for a natural product which is real wood as opposed to a copy”, says Lars Gunnar Andersen.
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