The demand, mainly from infrastructure projects, is likely to support a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent for construction chemicals in Southeast Asia from 2008 to 2015. The construction chemical industry is progressing with trends in the building material industry. Huge acceptance of ready-mix concrete and higher demand for advanced construction techniques has increased the demand for high-performance construction materials.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (chemicals.frost.com), Southeast Asian Market for Construction Chemicals, finds that the market earned revenues of over $464.7 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $767.4 million in 2015. The study covers chemical admixtures, waterproofing compounds, flooring compounds, repair and rehabilitation compounds, sealants, grouts, and tile adhesives segments.
In mature markets such as Singapore, usage of construction chemicals is common, while it has not seen a widespread adoption in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
"In order to boost the economy, the governments of Singapore and Thailand have plans to invest $12 billion and $19 billion respectively for infrastructure development during 2009," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sushmita Mahajan. "Particularly in Indonesia, the government has ambitious plans for infrastructure development over the next five years as inadequate ports, roads, and airport infrastructure is proving to be a roadblock to development."
With customers ratcheting up the rhetoric for lower costs in terms of material, energy, and capital on the one hand and for faster completion times for building projects on the other, the role of construction chemicals has grown in significance. Currently, products are available to speed up the curing process for concrete and ensure that it is self-compacting. As this eliminates the need for vibration to de-air the concrete and related equipment necessary for the process, efficiency is enhanced. Moreover, the need for steam curing is minimized.
However, revenues for the construction chemicals industry will be restrained due to the slump in the private projects sector. The current economic downturn has negatively impacted the residential building sector and there is a significant lack of investor confidence in this market. With residential property prices nose-diving, construction activity has slowed down considerably. Asian property developers are exercising caution, delaying residential projects and reconsidering others because the worldwide economic crisis has reined in funding and crimped buyer interest.
"Construction firms that rely heavily on private-sector projects face tough times ahead as more property developers delay building works; contractors that build private residential condominiums will feel the heat most," says Mahajan. "However, government led infrastructure drives will counter the downslide in this segment and sustain overall market growth till the economy recovers; this is particularly true since infrastructure projects have long gestation periods and the activity in phases will influence demand for chemicals."
Low productivity in the construction industry, which is labor intensive, can be surmounted with increased usage of technology and construction chemicals. Currently, the Southeast Asian market for construction chemicals is dominated by large MNCs. While the number of products are numerous, all participants have their own core product segments. Manufacturers will have to pay a higher price for imported raw materials due to high crude oil prices and the consequent increase in freight charges. Thus, the maximizing of local input of materials will lead to cost reduction of raw materials.
The growing insistence on environmental-friendly buildings too will impact this sector. For instance, the Singaporean Government has planned a budget of $500 million to be spent over the next 10 years to retrofit its existing buildings in order to attain the Green Mark gold plus standard by 2020. This promises good prospect for construction chemicals.
"A combination of technological advancements as well as usage of construction chemicals will help to achieve energy-efficient green buildings," explains Mahajan. "This will promote increased usage of construction chemicals, which will improve the project time for construction, durability/lifespan of the building as well as provide enhanced energy savings."
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