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Sewage pipes account for half of EU infrastructure pipe sales

Sewage pipes dominate the European infrastructure pipes market accounting for 2.8 million tons and about half of the total sales in 2015, a new study from Interconnection Consulting has revealed.

According to the study, the overall market for infrastructure pipes in Europe recorded another drop of 4.4% in 2015. Overall, the market value of 2015 reached a volume of €4.6bn, just 0.4% above the previous year’s figure. Interconnection has forecast a consistent sales volume in 2016 compared to 2015, saying the replacement of old metal and concrete pipes paved the way for alternative materials such as glass fibre and plastics.

Drainage pipes, with a share of 41.9%, are the most used pipe type in England. The non-pressure market prevails over the pressure market taking 64.7% and 35.3% accordingly. The former can boast a sales volume of €2.6bn.

The pressure sector has less potential as a lot of water networks were already restored. Water supply accounts for the overwhelming majority of 82.7% in the pressure segment. Gas pipes are experiencing negative dynamics and hold only a 6% share of the total market volume.

Last year, a total of 1.5 million tons of plastic pipes (27.4% market share) were sold in the top seven European countries (France, Germany, GB, Italy, Spain, Poland, Benelux). This year, the turnover of sold plastic pipes is expected to increase by 8.1%.

Interconnection said the reasons for this increase can be found in the properties of plastic pipes, such as their resistance to corrosion, flexibility, weldability, chemical resistance and their fast and simple joint and installation techniques, which all mean important cost savings. The growth of the plastic segment is at the expense of the metal and concrete pipe shares, which lost 6.6%.

This trend will continue as light materials and plastic alternatives are in demand. The glass fibre tube segment is comparatively small (€209.8M) and is governed by three large players. The future doesn’t look too bright for metal and concrete pipes as their shares are decreasing (-10.2%).

In recent years, the EU infrastructure pipeline manufacturing sector has experienced the loss of some jobs and domestic market shares. These are heavily dependent on government spending and funding, which have been massively cut in some countries.

Germany, the largest market for infrastructure pipelines, showed a 5.4% decrease in installed pipes. The British market also fell by 1.7% in 2014. Due to the positive exchange rate, however, the British achieved a value increase of 7.9%.

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