We didn't start the fire …
It has something of a déjà vu. First it was the prices for polymers that were supposed to get a boost from energy cost surcharges. This is now a fairly widespread practice, even though processors sometimes decline to entertain all-too-brazen supplier requests and keep their wallets firmly shut.

However, it is just as common – after an initial success – to push the envelope further, if only to see how far the limit once crossed can be pushed. The current situation, with, in some cases, exorbitant energy costs and a war on our doorstep, also encourages creative pricing.

These days, standard-issue producers still try to declare force majeure for technical reasons, even though it has already been legally established that a burst pipe, for example, is by no means always attributable to force majeure (see also “Powerless in the face of force majeure” of 05.05.2021). More clever producers simply postpone maintenance and extend it a bit if necessary. And the brazen ones? They quickly invent the concept of force majeure due to high electricity and gas prices. Makes you think of the eighties, and a popular song about adorable arsonists.

It is hard to imagine that this kind of business conduct is sustainable from an entrepreneurial perspective. Instead, it is likely to rekindle the suspicion that has been smouldering among processors since the autumn of 2021 at the latest: that producers may well be venturing into legal grey areas in order to protect their own business.

Bottom line: the industry burns on, and on, and on, and on… but that’s really not so hot.

Sven Arnold
Kunststoff Information
Deputy Editor-in-Chief
21.03.2022 Plasteurope.com [249893-0]
Published on 21.03.2022

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