German group Knauf enters heat insulation market

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The high level of degradation of housing units in Romania and the annual growth potential of some 15-20% in the sector of heat insulation products in the next five years, prompted producers of mineral wool to enter more aggressively on a market in which the main heat insulation product used was polystyrene. An important player in the segment of heat insulation, German group Knauf announced entry in Romania, through its division Knauf Insulation.
 
"We decided to enter Romania because it is one of the European markets that hold most homes with low heat insulation. As many as 75% of the buildings are older than 55 years and the installations are worn-out, therefore, consume a double energy volume compared to the average in the European Union. Besides, the annual growth rate of the Romanian market of mineral wool will be of 15-20% in the upcoming 5 years", Dominique Bossan, managing director of Knauf Eastern Europe told daily Business Standard.
 
Representatives of Knauf Insulation said they will sell in Romania only mineral and basalt wool used for the heat insulation of buildings, because the future EU norms will ban the utilisation of polystyrene for heat insulation because of high fire risks.
In Romania the company stakes on businesses worth over 7 million euros this year and on a rise of at least 70% in 2009, above the growth pace of the relevant market. Besides, the company plans to open this year a distribution centre in Romania, examining various locations for the project.
 
Knauf Insulation has 30 production units and about 5,000 employees in over 50 countries worldwide. Last year, the consolidated turnover of the group exceeded one billion euros. Knauf is present in Romania through its divisions of plasterboard and has recently announced that it will invest in a plant in this field.
 
The main competitor of Knauf Insulation on the domestic market of mineral wool estimated in 2008 at some 50-60 million euros is Austrian company Saint-Gobain Isover (Ploiesti, southern Romania), part of the French group Saint-Gobain.
The local market of polystyrene was assessed in 2007 at 3 million cubic metres in volume and at 90 million euros, the main competitors in the field being Austrotherm, Swissopor, Daw Benta and Amvuc.
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