European aluminum foil output up 2.1% year-over-year to 814,400 tonnes in 2012, as Q4 deliveries rise 5%, EAFA says; thinner foil gauges used for flexible packaging see 3% gain, while thicker gauges used in semi-rigid containers fall 4%

DUSSELDORF, Germany , February 18, 2013 (press release) – The moderate increase in demand and deliveries for aluminium foil products from European manufacturers, seen during the first three quarters of 2012, was maintained in Q4. The year ended with total production up 2.1% at 818,400t (2011: 801,600t) according to the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA). The deliveries in the fourth quarter 2012 were 5% up compared with Q4 2011.

Commenting on the figures, Manfred Mertens, EAFA Vice-President and Roller Group Chairman, said, “Last year’s recovery is encouraging, but the outlook remains cautious into 2013 so we cannot predict the situation going forward with any certainty. Growth in export sales is expected to continue, but European markets remain volatile. Requests for short term deliveries continue to affect production planning and European aluminium foil manufacturers must continue to be flexible and react to market changes quickly.”

Thinner gauges used for flexible packaging and household foil continued to lead the way with an increase of 3% compared with the previous year. The increase in Q4 compared with same period in 2011 was even 8%.

Deliveries of thicker gauges which are typically used for semi-rigid containers and technical applications continued to decline, falling in total by 4% in the last twelve months, although the rate of decline is continuing to slow down with only a 1% decrease in the fourth quarter.

Exports continued to show increases throughout the year. Deliveries outside the EAFA region* were up 10%, confirming that emerging markets continue to outperform their European counterparts, although the fourth quarter exports outside the region were only up by 5%.
“Last year was an exciting year for the association with its new ‘Closures Group’ which also started the major communication campaign ‘Aluminium Closures – Turn 360°’. In addition, we continued demonstrating aluminium foil’s role for a more resource efficient society. This is also a leading theme from the EU Commission but we believe the concept is the right answer to global challenges like increasing urbanisation while aiming for a more sustainable production and consumption,” continued Manfred Mertens, reviewing EAFA’s activities in 2012.

Aluminium foil characteristics are strength, formability and barrier properties which have made it an essential part of many flexible packaging and container applications. Other uses of aluminium foil include automotive and heat exchange components, insulation material and many industrial applications.

* EAFA region covers Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and UK

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