News 2009 - archive

The European Parquet Industries

FEP logoIn line with the January forecast of the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) and amplified by the further deteriorating market situation in the fourth quarter, the figures for 2008 - “a challenging year for the European Parquet Sector” - indicate a decline in both parquet production volumes and consumption on the European market – this after years of steady growth that the sector has experienced.

The new development did not come unexpectedly, FEP observes, as the industry was confronted with steady business slowdown throughout last year. “The weakening performance of the traditionally largest markets, as a consequence of the global economic crisis, the unprecedented turmoil in the financial sectors and the sharp drop in local construction activities, are undoubtedly crucial factors contributing to the general market decline.” The total production in FEP territory fell by 15,56%, to a volume of 84.725 m2, slightly above the level attained in 2003. Sharp declines witnessed in Sweden (-29,41%), France (-20,00%), Spain (-18,58%), the Nordic cluster (-17,40%) and Germany (-15,05%) had a major impact on the negative development of the entire sector.

As regards the absolute production figures by country, Poland has now clearly taken the lead with an impressive 18,03%, followed by Sweden with 14,16%. Germany completes the top three ranking with 13,03%. In general terms, the 2008 parquet production percentages per type are proportionally practically the same as last year. That is to say: mosaic 3%, multilayer 77% (2007: 76%), lamparquet 2% and solid 18% (2007: 17%). The usage of wood species in 2008 indicates that oak is advancing further to reach 57,6% of the total, tropical wood species are regressing but only slightly compared to last year to 14,7%, ash is losing ground and falling to 7%, whereas beech remains stable at 6,5%.

Consumption in the FEP area also regressed, by 9,51%, to a level of 101.547 m2. Important relapses are witnessed especially in Spain (-21,77%), France (-15,00%), Germany (-13,63%) and the DK/FIN/NO area (-11,82%). Some of the Eastern European countries though (especially Hungary: +20,82%) and Switzerland (+3,49%) succeeded in improving their consumption figures in these difficult times. Europe’s largest parquet market in spite of a slight relapse remains Germany with a consumption percentage of 17,61%. Spain is experiencing a considerable decline to 13,85% but still holding second position, whereas Italy is firmly third improving its market percentage to 12,61%. Based on presently available data, FEP estimates the total market share of parquet slightly above 5%.

Based on reports from member companies, currently available economic indicators and ongoing consultations with the services of the European Commission in Brussels, FEP estimates that 2009 will remain a difficult year for the parquet manufacturers.

FEP/Euparal, June 2009

FEP: CE-marking obligation extended until 2010

CE logo With reference to the FEP press release issued on 30th January 2009 and specifically the exact date on which the CE-marking for parquet & wood floorings will become mandatory, this is an excerpt from the official reaction to FEP’s direct inquiry which was received on February 6th from the European Commission.

“CE marking of Wood flooring is still possible now on the grounds of EN 14342:2005. As of 1/03/2009, CE marking of Wood flooring will be possible on the grounds of EN 14342:2005+A1:2008. CE marking of Wood flooring will be obligatory as of 1/03/2010.” After conflicting reports which were circulating on this issue the federation states one can now conclude that, based on the above statement, the CE-marking obligation for parquet & wood flooring will officially enter into effect on 1 March 2010. “FEP trusts that this clarification from the European Commission will bring an end to the confusion which during the past weeks has arisen on the subject and is confident that the further extension will provide yet additional time for the members to undertake the necessary steps to reach conformity with EN 14342.”

FEP/Euparal, February 2009

‘FEP: global economic crisis halts growth in parquet sector’

FEP logoAfter several years of steady growth, 2008 saw a decline of parquet sales on the European market. FEP, the Brussels based European Federation of the Parquet Industry estimates that based on preliminary information obtained from companies in its member countries, parquet sales in 2008 backslided by close to 7% in comparison with 2007.

Indications are that the decrease is proportionate to the relapse witnessed in the flooring market in general. In the same line, a regression in parquet production volumes was also apparent in the global EU area. This new development does not come as a surprise, according to FEP, as the steadily weakening tendency has been observed throughout the course of most of last year, and especially during the last quarter. The slackening performance of the traditionally largest markets (Germany, Spain and France in particular), induced to an important degree by a sharp drop in local construction businesses impacting both the delivery of new dwellings and to a lesser degree the renovation segment, is certainly one of the major factors behind the general market decline, FEP states. Available data presently point in the direction of a total consumption in the EU/EFTA area of around 112 million m2. FEP wishes to stress that complete statistical data will only be available at the federation’s General Assembly next June.

FEP: “The reasons for the unfavourable business climate which left a mark on the EU parquet industry as well can no doubt be attributed to the steadily declining consumer confidence induced by the large scale recession and of late unprecedented turmoil on the financial markets, prompting a climate of uncertainty, distrust, and low level investment readiness. Persistent and fierce pressure from competing low-cost markets, rising energy and supplies costs through most of last year, concerns about raw material availability & pricing, stiffer bank-loan policies as well as the generally overrated Euro further amplified the existing challenges for the industry. FEP hence calls for swift and focused measures at all relevant levels to safeguard the EU parquet industry’s competitiveness, and help insure its sustainable functioning and future stability.”

Meanwhile, the number of officially licensed Real Wood-logo companies at the end of December 2008 has further risen to 53, compared to 42 at the beginning of the year. Regarding the CE-marking for parquet, FEP expects this obligation for parquet and wood flooring products to officially enter into effect on 1 March 2009, after two previous extensions of the co-existence period regarding EN 14342. FEP says (dated 2009-01-30) it trusts that the postponements in question have granted the necessary time for parquet producers to carry through the required steps for reaching conformity with the norm in question.

FEP/Euparal, February 2009

EPLF: decline on global market

EPLF logoThe global laminate flooring sales of the EPLF European Producers of Laminate Flooring are likely to be lower than the previous year’s figures. This is revealed by the projection of EPLF’s sales figures for the first three quarters of 2008

In 2008, the 19 producers which belonged to EPLF (a figure which has since risen to 21) sold 469 million m2 of European-made laminate flooring around the world, compared with 507 million m2 in the previous year. This represents a decline of 7.5% in global market sales. Sales in Western Europe amounted to 272 million m2, a fall of 7.8% compared with the previous year (295 million m2). EPLF: “Unsettled by the crisis in the global economy, a decline in building investments and general reluctance to spend, Western Europe is experiencing a tangible fall in sales.” With sales of 85 million m2, compared with 96 million m2 in the previous year, the German market showed the greatest decline, but remains the single most important market in Europe. France performed relatively well in 2008 with 40 million m2 (42 million m2 in the previous year) and retains its second place in the sales ranking. UK sales fell from 39 million m2 in 2007 to 32 million m2 in 2008, placing it third. Sales in the Netherlands remained stable at 22 million m2 (22 million m2 in the previous year), placing it fourth, while Spain dropped to fifth place with 19 million m2 (22 million m2 in the previous year).

The situation on the Eastern European markets is more encouraging, according to EPLF. European laminate flooring manufacturers sold 131 million m2 in Eastern Europe in 2008, a slight increase of 1.5% over the previous year (129 million m2). Poland and Russia notched up sales of 33 million m2 and 27 million m2 respectively, approaching the sales figures of Western European markets. Sales were also strong in Romania and Hungary, two countries offering further growth potential in years to come. The figures for North America and Asia continue to decline owing to the construction of local production plants. In North America sales of European-made laminate flooring fell from 54 million m2 to 38 million m2. The greatest decline was seen on the US market, which shrank from 34 million m2 to 23 million m2. Sales in the Asian region totalled approximately 8 million m2. This low volume is due to the large number of local suppliers, particularly in China. South America remained stable with modest sales of 12 million m2. Mexico and Chile emerged as particularly promising markets. In Africa, South Africa and Egypt are still the only markets of interest.

EPLF/Euparal, January 2009