The U.S. and Canadian geosynthetics market includes geotextiles, geomembranes, geogrids, geosynthetic clay liners, drainage materials, geocells and erosion control materials. In 2018 the U.S. and Canadian geosynthetics market grew in the low single-digit range and is expected to grow somewhat higher in 2019.
Consolidation continues in geosynthetics market
U.S. geosynthetic manufacturers will likely experience stiff competition for sales due to a combination of factors: a strong U.S. dollar in 2018–2019, subdued growth in economies across the globe and more inexpensive imports coming into the United States.
To better compete in this competitive environment and better serve their customers, some U.S./Canadian geosynthetics market players have pursued merger and acquisition moves to place them in a better position to serve their customers. There were three key mergers and acquisitions in 2017. Another key geosynthetics market merger and acquisition occurred on March 14, 2018:
- Marlborough, Mass.-based Geo-Synthetics Systems LLC (a subsidiary of Babcock Power Environmental Inc., a Babcock Power Inc. company) acquired substantially all the assets of Waukesha, Wis.-based Geo-Synthetics LLC, a leading distributor, fabricator and installer of geosynthetic materials for applications such as energy, waste disposal, agricultural and industrial.
Outlook in the geosynthetics market
The overall U.S. and Canadian geosynthetics market is expected to see moderate growth in 2019. Roadway and bridge construction will drive a good portion of this growth. The U.S. solid waste management market is expected to grow 3.6% in this year, which coupled with growth in the road and bridge construction market should help the U.S./Canadian geosynthetics market achieve an overall growth rate of 4% in 2019.
One wild card in the forecast for 2019 is the outlook for the scheduled 2020 reauthorization of the Fixing American’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and the ability of Congress to find additional revenues to support the Highway Trust Fund. If states start delaying transportation improvement projects in response to uncertainty over the future of the federal program, it may temper 2019 market growth.
Although the overall U.S. transportation infrastructure market will see growth in 2019, the situation will likely vary significantly by state and region. Highway construction market activity is expected to increase in about half of the states and Washington, D.C. Market activity is expected to slow down in approximately 20 states.
Other market risks in 2019 include uncertainty over material prices (oil and gas), increased labor costs and potential labor shortages in some regional markets.
Jeffrey C. Rasmussen is the market research manager for the Industrial Fabrics Association International.