Flexible polyurethane foams (PUR)

Flexible polyurethane foams are used mainly in production of furniture and sleeping mattresses, which amount to more than ¾ of consumption of this material. Another 15%–20% is used in automotive industry for production of seats and interiors. As a result, demand for foams is sensitive to economic cycles.


Because of physical properties (low specific gravity) PUR foams are sold only on local markets. Therefore production base develops close to potential buyers. The CIECH Group is active mainly on the Polish market. However, export sales are being developed as well. Furniture manufacturers and foam processing plants are clients of the Group.

Globally, production of flexible polyurethane foams used in furniture production is very fragmented (over a thousand pro-ducers of total production capacity of 6-7 million tonnes per year). Production capacities of Polish producers are estimated at 210-220 thousand tonnes per year. Major competitors of the CIECH Group on the Polish market are: Eurofoam, MZCh Organika, Vita Polymers and CIS. IKEA also hold large production capacities, however, they are designated mainly for internal purposes.

The CIECH Group, through Ciech Pianki Sp. z o.o., has about 16% share in the Polish market of flexible polyurethane foams, and approx. 25% in the domestic market of these foams without taking into account imports and own production.

Over the next few years, the global market for flexible polyurethane foams – such as those manufactured by the CIECH Group – (estimated at more than 6 million tonnes) is expected to grow at a rate of 3%-4%. This will mainly be attributable rising standards of living in developing coun-tries. European demand for soft polyurethane foams, such as those used in the furniture industry, is estimated at about 1.3 million tonnes per year (including Turkey). In 2019, the Polish market for these foams is estimated at around 190,000 tonnes, down a few percent on the previous year. This decline is due to the slowdown in the strong upward trend in domestic furniture and mattress production, witnessed for more than a year now, mainly as a result of a drop in sales to Western European countries and, above all, to Germany (a clear weakening of the general economic situation last year). In turn, developments in the furniture market translate directly into the market for flexible PUR foams.

In the following years, however, we estimate that the domestic market for flexible polyurethane foams should gradually recover and grow by about 3% annually on average. This will generally be supported by the very good position of the Polish furniture industry on foreign markets (second place in the world ranking of furniture exporters after China; price competi-tiveness; plans for further export expansion).

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