A quick glance of the plastics industry in Tunisia reveals some extraordinary figures. Over 500 companies operate in this sector, with this involving over 15,000 people.
Furthermore, this is one industry which is proving to be really popular amongst foreign investors. In 2015 for example, it was found that foreign investment contributed to the creation of 11,000 employment positions through the country.
When we talk about plastics, it really comes in multiple forms. Household items is one category; with this including both carpentry and furniture. Then, there are agricultural items, building items, technical articles and of course plastic for packaging and handling. As such, the industry is vast, and this is perhaps why it has proved so enticing for a lot of foreign investors over the years.
In terms of importing and exporting, the former tends to surround PVC, polypropylene and various molds. Exports on the other hand usually focusses on more technical components, with common examples being polyethylene sheets for agriculture or technical parts for automobiles.
Again, all of the above is further indication that the plastic industry is one which has tremendous growth opportunities. We will now scour deeper into this sector through this guide, and uncover the main strengths and opportunities that are relevant to investors.
What are the strengths of the plastics industry in Tunisia?
It would be fair to say that there are three main strengths associated with this industry, which we will now delve into.
The progress of engineered plastics
Over the last few years an increasing number of technical parts are being manufactured out of plastic. This is something that has really taken off in Tunisia and over the last fifteen years or so has resulted in around sixty major companies operating in the niche.
These 60 companies are responsible for employing around 6,000 people, so they certainly contribute hugely to the overall plastics market. The fields that they tend to focus on involve blowing, injection, rotational molding and extrusion.
Each company operating in this segment of the market is complying with international quality guidelines (generally in the form of ISO 9000). This is because this is expected from outsourcers, particularly as many of the engineered parts are for such intricate purposes.
An investment in chemistry
About twenty years ago the Technical Centre for Chemistry was created. For the plastics industry, this was huge. It means that Tunisia is now on top of all modern production methods, resulting in higher quality plastics that are delivered at more efficient rates.
In truth, this strength could apply to a whole host of industries. However, for the purposes of the plastics sector, Tunisia has proved on umpteen occasions that it is one of the most reliable outsourcers around.
It has proven that it can deliver to both first rank subcontractors (who can then deliver clients), as well as exporting outside of the country. The latter is particularly important to focus on, with the impeccable Tunisian transportation system facilitating a second to none exporting facility.
General competitive advantages
Some parts of this next issue might be covered elsewhere, but it goes without saying that Tunisia retains a competitive advantage over many of its rival countries when it comes to plastics.
As we’ve already spoken about, their resources from an engineering perspective are impressive and also come at very efficient rates. If we take a look deeper into these competitive advantages, we can cover everything from the high levels of technology that is available to the efficient management methods which have been introduced.
It’s benefits such as the above which have come courtesy of the very strong relationship Tunisia has with the European Union.
Investment opportunities within the plastics industry in Tunisia
The opportunities within the plastics sector in Tunisia are aplenty. When one starts to analyze the trends that have been experienced in this industry, the scope for development is huge.
Perhaps one of the most promising points is that the opportunities are so varied. For example, there’s a gaping one surrounding bulky item exports. As well as this, small batch items such as pleasure craft also require export means.
Tunisia is known for its impressive engineering efforts but experts still believe that there is room to increase the amount of subcontracting that goes on in certain fields related to plastics. These include the likes of electronics, telephony, health and the automotive industry – meaning that there are a wealth of opportunities within subcontracting as a whole.
In fact, a wealth of opportunities within this sector can be found by just taking a look at the way in which global trends are heading in relation to engineered plastics.
For example, many believe that engineered plastic will be used for the likes of data storage, solar collectors, in-mold decoration and an increasing number of automobile parts. When these global opportunities are combined with the strengths that we spoke about in the previous section, it becomes clear that investors really could take this industry by storm.
A closing summary on investing in the Tunisian plastics sector
In truth, this guide hasn’t revealed anything particularly groundbreaking about the plastics sector in Tunisia. You only have to take a look through recent history to see the umpteen success stories, that have made this industry such a lucrative one from the eyes of an investor.
When we talk about such success, we’re referring to the likes of Plastivaloire, which is one of the biggest manufacturers of complex plastic parts in Europe, and Leman Industrie which is decades old and specializes in plastic injection.
The above two examples are just a minority really, the list could go on. The point we’re trying to make is that when the plastics sector has such strengths as we have documented, in combination with all of the opportunities, the lure for an investor is high and you’d have to imagine that an increasing number are going to take advantage over the next few years.