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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2018 / Vol 41 No3


58 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK GLOBALFASTENERNEWS.COM by JOHN WOLZ EDITOR MATTEN: EUROPEAN FASTENER DEMAND STRONG The European fastener industry is doing quite well thanks to a strong economy, the executive editor of Europe’s fastener magazine told Fastener Fair USA. The biggest problem may be “significant pressure on capacity – whether productive people or supply chain.” Phil Matten points to several years of solid growth in manufacturing in the eurozone. European fastener company ownership “is still strongly family – particularly in Germany and Italy – providing stability through long term commitment.” There are ownership changes, such as Nedschroef now being Chinese owned and Taiwan’s Boltun and Sumeeko having bought into European fastener manufacturing. Matten, executive editor of Fastener+Fixing Magazine for two decades, followed marketing for fastener companies earlier in his career, and has visited hundreds of companies across the world. ¤ About 20% of European fastener production is for aerospace, followed by automotive. Oil and gas fastener specialists “have had a torrid time but are hanging in there,” Matten reported. ¤ The construction fastener market “is tough,” Matten said. “The strongest manufacturer is Cooper & Turner, which has now set up manufacturing in the U.S.” ¤ Sixty percent of UK fastener manufacturers turn over less than EUR 8.1 million (USm) annually. They are primarily hot forgers and NC machinists focusing on short runs, short lead times and niche demand. “They’re agile, quality oriented and highly responsive – necessities to prosper in today’s market.” ¤ Automotive is a major fastener demand driver in Europe. “You can see why Germany is the dominant fastener producing nation in Europe – and why export has long been really important to Italy,” Matten observed. ¤ Distribution’s strength is local supply and where “OEMs require intensive logistical support.” ¤ There is a high level of distribution family ownership, providing “a key stability” in Europe, Matten noted. He cited Keller & Kalmbach, Berrang, Bossard, Dresselhaus, Reyher, Schafer & Peters, Bollhof and Würth Group. “Yes, there is significant consolidation, particularly in the UK recently – and there will be more,” Matten said. “However, most of the big family companies have clear succession provision.” Examples of corporate ownership are Optimas Solutions, TR Fastenings and Supply Technologies. Results of 2009 European Tariffs The results of the 2009 antidumping duties of 85% on carbon steel fasteners from China were mixed. There is “no question that China had achieved a massive share of the imported sector and it was hurting European manufacturers.” The duties may have stopped direct imports, but “triggered all kinds of circumvention through other countries – particularly Malaysia,” Matten said. “European producers certainly did benefit in 2009/2010, but a lot of that was because distributors had radically cut inventory and were living hand-tomouth,” Matten observed. “Longer term, distributors swung back to Asia – particularly to Taiwan.” “The duties gave volition to fastener manufacturing in many other countries – notably Vietnam long range, and Turkey short range,” Matten finds. BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 142



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