FLORHAM PARK, N.J.—The North American TPU field has seen a pair of price increase attempts issued by BASF Corp. since Jan. 1. That's drawn notice from buyers in the region, where prices rarely change more than once a year.
Officials with Florham Park-based BASF could not be reached for comment. In Jan. 25 price increase letter, officials with the firm said that the increase action “is to ensure reliability of supply, support future levels of investment and help recover a small portion of raw material costs.”
BASF's January increase attempt was for 3-4 percent. No amount was listed for the price increase in the letter, but buyers said the February move could be substantially higher. Buyers added that they believe the price increase will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
One TPU market watcher said he was surprised by the back-to-back moves because of the TPU market's relative stability, especially when compared to commodity markets. He added that TPU demand has been on the upswing because of the comeback posted by the North American auto market, a major TPU consumer.
“We don't usually see this kind of (pricing) thing in TPU,” the market watcher said. “And I think most (TPU makers) had a good year last year.”
The North American TPU field is led by Lubrizol Corp., with a market share estimated at 50 percent. Industry sources said that BASF and Bayer MaterialScience are generally considered to be roughly equal in second place, with Huntsman Corp. holding down the No. 3 spot. Those four firms account for roughly 90 percent of the regional TPU market.