COVID-19 Impact on the global Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) market

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) market

The global thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) market size is estimated to be USD 4.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 6.2 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 6.4% between 2021 and 2026. The compounded TPO accounted for the largest market share of 41% in 2020. Automotive is estimated to be the largest end-use industry of TPOs during the forecast period, followed by building & construction in terms of volume. TPOs are used for exterior body parts such as bumpers, rocker panels, body seals, automotive gaskets, doors & windows, and other parts. Recent developments in TPO have enabled their use in underhood applications in the automobile industry.

Thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO) are used to meet the needs of applications that demand functions of both elastomer and thermoplastics for efficient functioning. It is obtained by blending polypropylene/polyethylene with elastic ethylene copolymers (polyolefin elastomers or POE) and adding other reinforcing fillers and additives. TPO has properties of both rubber as well as plastic and therefore provides advantages of both, thus creating a new form that is highly adaptable in many end-use applications. The advantages of TPO are low specific density, good ozone resistance, high strength, recyclability, and ease of processing. However, the disadvantages are that TPO is not resistant to non-polar solvents and has poor wear resistance. It can be processed using various techniques, including injection molding, profile extrusion, thermoforming, and blow molding.

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The major industry players have adopted expansions, agreements, and acquisitions as growth strategies in the last four years. The leading players in the market are Dow Inc (US), Mitsui Chemical, Inc (Japan), SABIC (Saudi Arabia),  Sumitomo Chemical Co.,Ltd (Japan), Exxon Mobil Corporation (US), LydondellBasell Industries N.V.  (US), Ineos Group Ltd (UK), and Boealis AG (Austria).

Dow Inc, In 2019, Dow formed a separate identity and commenced its operations along with DuPont and Corteva. The newly restructured Dow has four segments: industrial intermediaries & infrastructure, performance material & coatings, packaging & specialty plastics, and corporate. The company specializes in TPO elastomers and sells them through the packaging & specialty plastics segment. The company mainly serves applications in the automotive, consumer goods, wires & cables, and construction industries. Dow has over 109 manufacturing facilities in 31 countries across the globe. The strong global presence has allowed the company to develop strong value chains. The company offers TPO under the brand name,” Engage.”

Mitsui Chemicals, Mitsui Chemical is engaged in manufacturing and sales of chemical products. The company develops, manufactures, and maintains product portfolio in various categories such as chemicals, polymers, resins, high performance chemicals, fibers & textiles, agriculture, and electronics. Mitsui Chemical has four major business segments—basic materials, mobility, health care and food & packaging.

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Exxon Mobil Corporation, ExxonMobil is an oil and natural gas conglomerate, mainly engaged in exploring and producing oil and natural gas. It is also involved in producing and selling fuel, petrochemicals, and lubricants, among other products. The company has several divisions and hundreds of affiliates categorized under ExxonMobil, Mobil, Exxon, Esso, and XTO. It operates its business through three business segments—upstream, downstream, and chemical. The company offers TPO under the brand name, “Vestamid” and “Exxtral Performance Polyolefins.”

The companies have initiated the following developments:

  • In December 2020, Ineos Group acquired 100% shares in its joint venture “Gemini HDPE” with Sasol Chemicals. The company produces high density polyethylene in LA Porte, Texas.
  • In November 2020, Aramco purchased a 70% interest in SABIC from the Public Investment Fund (PIFF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, for a total purchase price of USD 69.1 billion.
  • In November 2019, The company launched VESTAMID e²X, a polyamide-based thermoplastic elastomer, which has excellent transparency and color stability. It is aiming at 3D printing materials with the launch of this thermoplastic elastomer.

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