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North American sales in 2014 by all distributors and manufacturers rose 6 percent to $4.04 billion for plastic shapes or semi-finished products, as estimated by Global Plastics Letter. Global Plastics Letter provided the following list to MDM as a representation of the largest distributors of semi-finished plastic shapes in North America. For more on the plastics distribution sector, visit www.globalplasticsletter.com.
Acquisitions continued to reshape the industry in 2014 and into 2015, according to GPL Editor Mel Ettenson. The post-recession recoveries of small, independently owned company now have healthy balance sheets to show the larger companies with an appetite to acquire. Blackfriars, SABIC, Saint-Gobain and Plaskolite all completed acquisitions recently. Ettenson expects another five to 10 acquisition in the next year, led by regional acquisitions.
Raw material prices for the feed stocks for plastic resins that are converted to semi-finished plastic shapes are beginning to break through the low inflation-deflationary period. The recent run-up on oil prices has boosted prices on basics such as polyethylene, polystyrene and PVC, which have been at decade-long lows. Expect inflation to finally show up again in the shapes distribution sector, for the first time in seven years.
The effect of Amazon and Alibaba still remains to be seen, Ettenson says. "We are reminded of the McMaster-Carr effect that has existed for over 50 years. There is a niche, and will always be, for the direct marketer," he says. Logistics will remain a key factor in this arena.
The following are estimated ranges for revenue for each of the following plastics distributors.
Annual Sales of more than $400 million
Annual Sales of $300-$400 million
Annual Sales of $200-$300 million
Annual Sales of $100-$200 million
Annual Sales of less than $100 million
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Methodology Note: Unless otherwise noted, revenues reflect the 2014 fiscal year. Revenues for all companies in this report are in U.S. dollars. For companies who report their data in other currencies, we converted their revenues to U.S. dollars using the exchange rate in place on the last day of that company’s reported fiscal year to determine ranking. Click here to view the full methodology.
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