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Composites UK reports number of companies trading fell by 6.3% in 2021

15 Sep '21
3 min read
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock

A Composites UK report on the UK composites industry shows that in 2021, the number of companies trading fell by 6.3 per cent, in comparison to 2020. The companies no longer trading fell proportionately across all UK regions. The 2021 Hub Report is a summary of the UK composites industry and includes how it has fared against the pandemic and EU Exit.

In 2020, 1,439 companies out of the 1,600 listed were trading. In 2021, the number came down to 1,348, showing the initial impact of the past year. No single region bucked the trend.

For the first time, the report also details the role composites have to play in the response to the Net Zero targets set by government, showing where the industry is in comparison to where it needs to develop.

The Hub, which is the UK composites capabilities database, contains the details of almost 1,600 companies in the UK composites supply chain. It is publicly searchable so anyone can go on there and find companies to work with. Many companies have received business opportunities through being listed – which is open to members and non-members of Composites UK – and it’s also the tool that is used when enquiries come through to the Association’s Helpdesk.

When completing their listing companies also fill in extra fields, the details of which are only visible to Composites UK. This allows the association to gather industry statistics and identify trends, something which has been particularly critical over the past 12 months.

Similarly, there were no significant changes in the primary markets where trading fell. The cross-sector nature of many companies within the composites supply chain is to thank for this, allowing companies to pick up opportunities from growing sectors where other sectors were struggling.

From data within the Hub it is evident that component manufacture, raw material supply and equipment providers make up over 50 per cent of UK composites capability. It is clear that the UK needs to increase capability in composite tooling, with only 14 companies identifying this as a core capability.

Over the summer Composites UK released this data in detail through its annual report. The report provides an analysis of local and regional markets and capabilities which should be of interest to government, industry and academia. It also shows company accreditations and for the first time will detail sustainability data and trends.

In 2020 the association started to add in financial and employment data to the Hub, with a view to develop an understanding of the scale of the UK’s composites sector across the whole value chain. Previous work tended to focus on the value of the raw materials, rather than the added value that end-users also provide. Composites UK used publicly available data, where possible, along with its own market intelligence, for the largest 250 companies out of those trading in The Hub. Some assumptions were made having consulted with experts to check those assumptions. This is the first time this type of approach has been used to size the industry.

For the 2021 report, Composites UK extended the scope to include initial findings on sustainability, following a survey conducted earlier this year focussing on sustainable materials, recycling efforts and involvement in sustainability initiatives. This information will be critical in mapping out the part composites play in reaching the UK’s Net Zero targets.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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