2017 is expected to be the hard year for the players in the plastic pipes market. High feedstock prices are no more the hottest topic, while falling consumption of final pipe products has become the main problem of the industry. The demand in the Housing and Utility Infrastructure, once a large consuming segment, has gone down to almost nothing. Despite the emergency condition of the most pipeline systems, especially in the regions, the local budget deficit simply cuts the replacement expenditure down. There is some hope though that the transfers will be allocated in view of the forthcoming elections in 2018.
The residential construction boom has also proved to be a short-term matter. The building and construction companies have problems with financing, while the households can afford less spending, too. The mortgage terms remain unfavorable. In the industrial construction segment, there is a decline in commissioning of large objects such as shopping malls. Altogether, we have arrived to decrease in plastic pipes consumption, particularly in gas and water applications.
The real demand for plastic pipes exists in large-scale national projects: the World Cup 2018, construction of Vostochny Cosmodrome, and modernization of military facilities. Apart from this, many Russian companies engaged in production of chemical and petrochemical products, are looking to increase export volumes on a weak ruble. Larger production volumes require new capacities, and accordingly, modern utilities and pipe systems.
Regretfully for pipe and fittings producers, participation in tenders for large-scale projects means low margins, so the large plants with high pipe production capacity can compete better. Consequently, the next round of consolidation among plastic pipes producers and the exit of small enterprises from the market are inevitable. In order to maintain positions in the market, the small producers have to struggle for survival by lowering the product price and reducing production costs, which will in the end affect the quality of plastic pipes and can simply discredit the entire segment.