The two-day Congress was a combination of an exhibition, which attracted more than 28 exhibitors from Africa, Europe, USA and Asia and a conference that included discussions on the latest developments in East Africa’s regulatory framework for the manufacture and distribution of paint and coatings and also the emerging market trends such as how changing performance of ingredients for manufacture of surface finishing solutions determine the choice of raw materials and pricing of final consumer product.
“With this region thriving and as the sub-Saharan middle class grows, there has never been a better opportunity for this market sector to invest in the future of this area,” said Ian Faux, VP dmg events, an affiliate of Daily Mail and General Trust, which organized the Congress for The Coatings Group.
“It is estimated that the Kenya and Tanzania paint and coating market in 2018 was worth $188 million, with Kenya accounting for a larger share because of the recent building boom in Nairobi and other major towns,” he added.
Although the event was meant to attract participation from East and Central Africa, the largest number of delegates were from Kenya, the largest economy in the region although none of the top five paint and coatings companies from the country were exhibiting this year.
“East Africa is a developing market and the potential for growth are huge,” said Uri Chaves, commercial manager at the Switzerland-founded Chemion AG, which supplies specialty chemical raw materials across the globe.
“We are satisfied with the response we received during the two days of the Congress although we expected participants from other countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Congo,” he said.
“Nevertheless we have made some good contacts and observed an increasing interest in titanium dioxide in this market,” Chaves added.
The absence of delegates from other East African countries may have been a concern to other exhibitors but many of them expressed satisfaction at the level of inquiries and even orders received during the two-day event at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel.
“The Congress was good for us, although as a company we expected more participation from other East African countries as the region’s market potential appears to be huge,” said Tanay Shukla, sales manager Petrochem Middle East FZE, one of the largest chemical distributors in the Middle East and Africa.
“Majority of the inquiries we received were from Kenyan visitors but I can say the contacts made, and interest shown on our stand and products, is satisfactory,” he said.
For exhibitors such as Omya International AG, which has a presence in East Africa, it was more of learning what their customers have to say about their products and get to know how to serve them better.
“We have a presence in Kenya and from what I’m hearing, our products are doing well in the market,” said Djilliali Foual, applications manager paints and coatings at Omya, a leading global producer of calcium carbonate and dolomite in addition to the distribution of specialty chemicals.
At the end of the two-day Congress, most of the foreign company’s participating went home with some orders that could lay the foundation for future bigger and frequent paints and coatings raw material supply deals.
“The EACC was good for our size of company because at least we managed to secure a few orders that may open the East African market to our products. That is what matters in such an event,” said Charles Lee, vice GM, International Trade Department at the China-Inner Mongolia Super Building Material Technology Company Ltd. The company produces calcined kaolin that is used in coatings, paper, rubber, wire and cable.
During the plenary presentations, China Mineral Processing’s Andrew Pleeth told delegates “the market of cheap and plentiful titanium dioxide is clearly over and there is every indication that over the medium and long term TiO2 prices will climb further.
“Production facilities will be put under continuing scrutiny, which adds up to a revival of interest in white mineral extenders that can be used as a partial replacement for TiO2 ,” he said.
While admitting there is no option to match “the opacity of prime TiO2 ,” Pleeth, however, contended that “some white, bright mineral extenders can offer some relief from these rising prices by enabling further reductions in its use (since) the aim is to help maximize this reduction.”
“The target sector is for the high pigment volume concentration paint sector, easily found in most markets across the globe, this is where the Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) content is above the Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPCV) and often more than 80 percent,” Pleeth added.
Currently, Pleeth said: “Calcined kaolin is the most effective and popular extender for formulating high PVC paints due to its price and its effectiveness of reducing the dosage of TiO2 (with) 10 to 15 percent savings of TiO2 achievable.”
The paint and coatings industry is also in the last phase of transitioning to new technologies that have been evolving since the 1990s and which from 2010 have made it possible for manufacturers and suppliers to meet the growing demand largely driven by economic growth, resurgence of innovation and expansion of the markets in Asia and the Middle East according to Kevin Biller, president of Powder Coatings Research Group.
For the global powder coatings market, Biller said trending technologies include the emergence of new chemistries such as those allowing for low-temperature cure and also UV cure, in addition to increasing prominence of new substrates such as MDF, plastics and composites.
Extreme UV durability of up to 30 years and smart powder coatings such as those with anti-microbial and self-healing qualities are some of the trending innovations in the industry today, according to Biller.
Moreover, the concerns of most paint and coatings manufacturers are how to reduce the cost of production but still make high-performance surface finishing products according to Mukund Gogte of Ashland.
Gogte, who gave a presentation on cost savings in paint manufacturing cited the example of increased use of the company’s Natrosol Performax product especially in Japan where manufacturers have managed to improve the production process by eliminating Natrosol hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) pre-made intermediates and reduce the risk of bio-contamination.
He said Natrosol Performax has enabled paint and coating makers to shorten the production cycle through reduction of grinding viscosity hence allowing faster transfer from dispersion to let down tank.
Gogte said energy savings is achieved “due to the reduced grind viscosities.”
Despite the delegates attending the 2019 EACC conference being slightly fewer compared to the last two similar events, “the quality of presentations was quite good and we are likely to see the impact in the short term,” according to Daniel Maina, chair and founder of Kisiwani Conservation Network, a community-based non-profit organization promoting sustainable management of chemicals and waste in Mombasa, Kenya.
“For those who have attended the previous two EACC conferences, it is would appear like the content of the presentations this year has a lot of bearing on the present trends in the paints and coatings industry in East Africa,” he said.
Although East Africa’s top paint companies such as Crown Paints/Crown Berger, Basco Paints, Sadolin Paints East Africa, Solai Paints Ltd and Nasib Industrial Products Ltd did not exhibit during this year’s EACC event, there was the presence of chemical suppliers from the region including East African Commercial Enterprises Ltd, Redachem East Africa Ltd and Solvochem