Auto OEM trends, state of the industry, M&A analysis and more...

By Tim Wright | March 16, 2010

As much of the world struggles to clamber out of serious recession, a gradual flow of economic power from West to East has turned into a flood. New high points, it seems, are reached daily. China surged past the U.S. to become the world's largest automobile market-in units, if not in dollars-figures released in January show. It also toppled Germany as the biggest exporter of manufactured goods. World Bank estimates suggest that China-the world's fifth-largest economy four years ago-will shortly overtake Japan to claim the No. 2 spot.

The growing number of car owners in China is driving sustained future growth in the automotive coatings industry there. While the value of the global automotive OEM coatings market fell 12 percent to roughly $8 billion in 2009 due to double-digit drops in the U.S. and Europe, the market in China grew five percent to $863 million. Leading multinational coatings companies, despite the tough financial times, continue to strengthen their footholds in China and invest there. Turn to page 36 to read more about trends in the automotive OEM coatings market.

Also in this issue, Coatings World's collaboration with Austin, TX-based Reactive Surfaces continues. Last month the first article discussed key issues and trends impacting today's coatings industry as well as the technology of functional additives that will lead it into hopefully a future of profitable growth.

In this month's second of a three-part series, the authors discuss the potential for bio-functional coatings to serve as catalysts for revitalizing the coatings industry, the characteristics, mode of action and formulation issues associated with several novel bioengineered additives. Turn to page 46 to read "Formulating with Bioengineered Additives: Enhancing the Performance and Functionality of Paints and Coatings."

In "State of the Global Coatings Industry," Coatings World tapped the resources of Orr & Boss senior consultant Scott Detiveaux. He says that while most economists believe that the worst of the economic decline is behind us, recovery, however, remains fragile and will vary significantly by region. "Overall, the International Monetary Fund forecasts that the global GDP will grow by 5.7% in 2010 followed by an additional 4.8% in 2011. This will basically put the global economy in 2011 on par with economic activity of 2008," he said.

If your company plans on embarking on a merger or acquisition, you will definately want to turn to page 62 for the first of a three-part series written by Chemark Consulting's Dan Watson that will attempt to provide Coatings World's audience with some best practice observations that may be useful in improving the eventual outcome of an acquisition.

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