Pulp & paper industry awash with growing overseas competition, consolidation at home

Water and wastewater treatment suppliers increasingly rely on building customer loyalty to gain competitive advantage in North American pulp & paper industry. That's the crux of a new report -- "North American Water & Wastewater Treatment in Pulp & Paper Markets -- An End-User Study" -- released by Frost & Sullivan...

PALO ALTO, CA, May 3, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Rising competition and capacity growth from developing countries -- due to lower fiber and labor costs -- in addition to high industry consolidation, poses a major challenge to the expansion of the North American pulp & paper industry. The water and wastewater treatment market is also under pressure as the number of customers from the pulp & paper industry declines. Excellence in the water & wastewater supplier services is vital to surmount competition in this maturing industry.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, "North American Water & Wastewater Treatment in Pulp & Paper Markets -- An End-User Study," reveals that revenue in this market estimates to reach between $125.0 million and $130.0 million in 2005.

"Water & wastewater treatment suppliers face substantial challenge in terms of customer loyalty -- pulp & paper companies tend to change their suppliers for better customer services," explains Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analysts Matthew Barker and Usha Srinivasan.

Participants with outstanding customer service, proactive after-sales support, competitive prices, and technological credibility expect to gain a competitive edge in this nearly saturated market.

Increasingly, aging infrastructure in the pulp & paper industry is set to drive the repair and replacements market. Furthermore, environmental legislations propel pulp & paper companies to invest in upgraded systems.

"Water & wastewater equipment suppliers that focus on cost-efficient product upgrades, process improvements and technologies -- that reduce chemical usage and sludge volume -- to counter regulatory pressures are likely to strengthen their market share," notes Barker.

Expansions of existing systems also hold huge potential for environmental engineering and consulting firms involved in the designing and planning of these systems.

Due to the large volumes of water used, the pulp & paper industry is susceptible to environmental controls and those associated costs. Suppliers who offer a complete solution to wastewater problems and the reuse of water with new technologies such as membranes can expect to be favored over their competitors.

"Reliability, output quality as well as safety of the system will remain critical success factors for the suppliers," says Srinivasan. "Sources of differentiation lie in rising importance of pricing and servicing."

Complete outsourcing of service related contracts is still undeveloped in pulp & paper industry, with many companies having in-house teams to handle these services. The water & wastewater treatment market is likely to benefit as more end users switch to outsourcing and become aware of the many advantages offered, such as long-term cost savings, use of external expertise, and reduced internal responsibilities.

"North American Water & Wastewater Treatment in Pulp & Paper Markets," part of the Environmental subscription (see: www.environment.frost.com), evaluates the suppliers, customer purchasing criteria, and key factors that influence customer satisfaction levels. It also presents key drivers of growth for the North American water & wastewater treatment market and provides strategic recommendations for vendors. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.

Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com), a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support development of innovative strategies for over 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. It serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community, by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics.


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