What products does Barcelonesa distribute and which ones would you mention as the strongest?
We distribute a wide range of fillers and extenders, with most of our sales coming from TiO2 (titanium dioxide) and CaCO3 (calcium carbonate). We also have a potential growth forecast in silicas, talc or alumina trihydrate.
How has the fillers and extenders market evolved in the last decade?
The market increasingly needs more value-added products and manufacturers seek to differentiate their products from those of competitors, giving them more features and having them provide more value to end users.
In this context, the minerals that are used as fillers and extenders are becoming specialised with the aim of giving the final product shine, functionality and durability.
How does this new specialisation affect Barcelonesa’s business?
First, it affects how we approach our clients because, in order to provide innovative solutions and speciality products, we must be able to start a technical dialogue. Therefore, we should leave the usual decision-makers from procurement departments in the background to focus on those responsible for development, R&D and even marketing.
It is also important that the company is aware that the project maturation times tend to be much longer than what we are used to with other commodities. Therefore, we should take long-term sales expectations into account.
What sales volume (in tonnes and euros) does this market involve in Spain?
In 2017 we surpassed 760 tonnes and this year we have a budget of close to 950. It is difficult to give a specific figure in euros because prices fluctuate.
How much of this product is exported and what percentage stays on the Iberian Peninsula? To which countries do we mainly export and which ones would we like to reach?
We are constantly exporting more but more than 70% of revenue still comes from the Peninsula. The natural export markets for BDPQ are France, Portugal and North Africa. We are also considering options in South America.
How do TiO2 price fluctuations affect the sales of the other mineral fillers?
Due to price increases, lack of availability and uncertainty, users tend to look for more stable alternatives that can give final products the same properties as TiO2. In some cases this has benefited the consumption of other fillers, such as silica, calcium carbonate, kaolin, zinc oxide or calcined clays.
Unfortunately, in many cases it involves reformulating the entire product and this is not feasible, which is why many manufacturers choose to accept the price increases and pass them on to their final products.
How is the market reacting to the supposed carcinogenicity of TiO2 through inhalation?
It is true that on 31 May 2016, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published Annex XV of the dossier compiled by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), proposing TiO2 be classified as a category 1B carcinogen through the inhalation route. The substance was included in the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) to be evaluated.
Given this situation, there are numerous studies where alternatives such as CaCO3, ZnO, talc or kaolin are proposed (although the latter two are not useful as pigments). Most of these studies do not respond to the fact that TiO2 is the only pigment that results in a uniform and stable target.
Have extenders recently been tested for new uses in the paint industry?
In our opinion, increasingly less attention is paid to the use of extenders reduce costs and uses have been sought to improve the aesthetic properties of paint (opacity, gloss, texture, etc.) and its mechanical and physical properties, such as resistance to blows, porosity and flexibility.
What does Barcelonesa offer versus competitors who are large global producers?
We compete through service. Large global producers lack flexibility and nowadays you have to be agile and flexible so that the end client will choose you over your competitor.
In what direction will the extenders market tend to go over the long term?
The extenders market tends towards specialisation and, as I said previously, adding value to the end user and obtaining certain properties at a reasonable cost.
Would you like more information about some of our products?
Visit the Coatings Sector webpage where you can find everything that we offer, download product listings or directly contact with our Coatings Sector Manager, Juan Carlos Montoro.