The frenzied pace of infrastructural developments in South Africa and Kenya is growing the market for thermoset resins in both countries. Significant government investment, especially in low-cost housing, road and other non-domestic structures, has given a boost to the paints and coatings, construction chemicals and composites markets. These markets, in turn, have raised the demand for thermoset resins.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Thermoset Resins Market in South Africa and Kenya, finds that the market earned combined revenues of $280.8 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach $339.4 million in 2017. South Africa accounted for 97.5 percent of the total sales and Kenya, the remaining 2.5 percent.
"Although South Africa's economic growth has slowed, a $360 billion government infrastructural development plan is likely to keep its thermoset resins market afloat till 2030," says Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials & Food Industry Analyst Dilshaad Booley. "The growth rate in Kenya is expected to be much higher, as the country is sorely lacking in modern infrastructure and is aggressively pursuing its development goals in line with its vision of becoming a middle-income nation by 2030."
South Africa has adequate resources to supply almost 90 percent of its thermoset resins demand domestically. Its local refineries are the most efficient in Africa, with an average utilisation capacity of 85 percent. Although this insulates the market from import price fluctuations, the country's escalating production costs are exposing it to competition from cheap imports. The government can attempt to stave off this challenge by imposing higher import tariffs and companies can utilise energy more efficiently during the manufacturing process.
Kenya, on the other hand, imports almost all of its thermoset resins and is vulnerable to constant currency volatility and high transport costs due to poor rail and road conditions. However, this is being remedied by the government's investment into the sector.
"Rail transport is performing at 10 percent of its capacity due to the deterioration of infrastructure and operational inefficiency in Kenya, resulting in higher thermoset resins prices," explains Booley. "South Africa, meanwhile, is threatened by imports from China, which is able to manufacture and trade products at lower costs due to economies of scale, lower labour costs and preferential trade tariffs."
Kenya can lower the prices of thermoset resins and increase local manufacturing through proper maintenance and better infrastructure, with longer rail networks from the ports. In South Africa, overcoming soaring energy costs is key to making locally produced products price competitive with imports. Local content policies in both countries will also aid the usage of thermoset resins in their respective domestic markets.