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Basic materials

Basic materials are indispensable to manufacturing processes. As they are often in limited supply, they are subject to strong fluctuations in demand and price. They are used by process industries whose high investment needs leave them little room for maneuver in response to shifts in price. To hold their own, companies have to continually adjust their operations and business models to the changing market conditions.

In brief

Commodity prices fell in 2008/2009 and recovered slightly in 2010. A more significant rise in both demand and price is expected thanks to the economic recovery and growth of emerging markets. As a result, the basic materials industry is being forced to increase its resource efficiency and productivity.

Companies need to decouple growth from the increased consumption of resources. To this end, they need to implement resource conservation strategies and environmentally efficient technologies. They can balance out variations in commodity prices by developing dynamic pricing models or alternative manufacturing routes for end products. Alternatively, they can build partnerships or achieve virtual integration of critical commodity suppliers.

Our approach

We have supported many clients in Germany and beyond, helping them adjust their operations and business models to the changing market conditions. We work in close cooperation with our clients, also helping with implementation. Our objective is achieving sustainable improvement, competitive advantage and an improved market position.

Our approach covers all strategic issues facing the basic materials industries, from reducing costs and achieving operational excellence to supporting growth. We help our clients adapt their organization, processes and costs through restructuring and performance enhancement projects. Our consultants' engineering expertise means that they can suggest technological improvements as well as optimizing the R&D organization and implementing innovation management strategies. Further levers for improving the cost base are found in product design, improving purchasing and supply-chain management, as well as optimizing the global footprint. We also provide M&A support and find potential partners for strategic alliances all over the world, from Latin America to Asia.

We can also help clients develop strategies for expanding their business fields and boosting sales. Our growth strategy expertise comes into play when coordinating product portfolios, developing new business models or setting up a professional sales and service organization.

Ferrous and non-ferrous metals

Metal prices and demand for ferrous and non-ferrous metals declined drastically in 2008, in some cases by as much as 50%. The last two years have seen increasingly positive developments. But the industry is now facing new challenges relating to the volatility of the commodity market, caused by increasing demand from emerging markets such as China and Brazil and the high level of supplier concentration and protectionism.

The most recent change in the iron ore pricing mechanism (from a yearly to a quarterly basis) and the increase in the price of coking coal are two typical examples that have led to increased volatility. Combined with slow recovery in demand for metal products and overcapacity in Europe, pressure on fixed costs remains high.
In response we have seen restructuring programs in the industry, involving capacity adjustments, cost reductions and performance improvements. Players are forced to decrease their processing times, leading to increased complexity and risk. For more information, please visit the page Ferrous & non-ferrous metals.

Construction materials

We have expertise along the entire value chain for construction materials. Our clients include SMEs and large corporations, family-owned and listed companies, local and international players, in all segments of the industry.

For more information, please visit the page Construction materials.

Non-metal and advanced materials

After three years of falling sales and production, recovery has now begun for the non-metal materials industries (glass, ceramics, paper & paper products). At the same time, the advanced materials industries (composite, battery, fuel cell, solar cells, hydrogen storage and magnetic materials) continue to grow significantly. But despite the recovery, numerous challenges remain.

We help our clients on all strategic issues facing the non-metal & advanced materials industries, from reducing costs and achieving operational excellence to supporting growth. Typical players are medium-sized firms. We help them tackle various issues such as holistic cost reduction or achieving operational excellence.

We can also help clients develop strategies for expanding their business fields and boosting sales. Our growth strategy expertise comes into play when coordinating product portfolios, developing new business models or setting up a professional sales and service organization.
For more information, please visit the page Non-metal and advanced materials

Our experts

Belgium

Eric Baart

Partner

Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 66103-25
E-mail: e-mail

 
Frank Lateur

Partner

Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 66103-37
E-mail: e-mail

 

Canada

Serge Lhoste

Partner

Montréal, Canada
Phone: +1 514 875 2000
E-mail: e-mail

 

France

Sebastien Amichi

Partner

Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 70394-282
E-mail: e-mail

 
Georges de Thieulloy

Principal

Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 53670-900
E-mail: e-mail

 
Michel Jacob

Partner, Member of the GEC

Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 53670-936
E-mail: e-mail

 

Germany

Martin Eisenhut

Partner, Head of EPHT, Member of the Supervisory Board

Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8262
E-mail: e-mail

 
Torsten Henzelmann

Partner and Head of Civil Economics, Energy & Infrastructure

Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8185
E-mail: e-mail

 
Dr. Kai-Stefan Schober

Partner

Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8372
E-mail: e-mail

 
Bernd Brunke

Partner, Member of the GEC, Head of Financial Services

Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 30 39927-3527
E-mail: e-mail

 

Principal

Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8954
E-mail: e-mail

 
Manfred Hader

Partner

Hamburg, Germany
Phone: +49 40 37631-4327
E-mail: e-mail

 
Sascha Haghani

Partner, Deputy CEO Germany

Frankfurt, Germany
Phone: +49 69 29924-6111
E-mail: e-mail

 
Gerd Sievers

Partner

Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8543
E-mail: e-mail

 

Greater China

Henri-Pierre Vacher

Principal

Hong Kong, Greater China
Phone: +852 3757 9482
E-mail: e-mail

 
Ping Yi

Principal

Shanghai, Greater China
Phone: +86 21 52986677 - 833
E-mail: e-mail

 

Italy

Mariano Frey

Partner and President of the Italian offices

Milan, Italy
Phone: +39 02 295 01-230
E-mail: e-mail

 

Japan

Ken Mori

Partner, Member of the GEC

Tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3 35876-660
E-mail: e-mail

 

Netherlands

Benno van Dongen

Partner

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 7960-600
E-mail: e-mail

 

Russia

Uwe Kumm

Partner

Moscow, Russia
Phone: +7 495 225 76 45 - 0
E-mail: e-mail

 

Southeast Asia

Joost Geginat

Managing Partner

Singapore, Southeast Asia
Phone: +65 6597 4566
E-mail: e-mail

 

Switzerland

Carsten Henkel

Co-Chairman and Senior Partner

Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 336-8610
E-mail: e-mail

 
Sven Siepen

Partner

Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 336-8670
E-mail: e-mail

 

Ukraine

Uwe Kumm

Partner

Moscow, Russia
Phone: +7 495 225 76 45 - 0
E-mail: e-mail

 

Further reading

The Rare Earth Challenge

Study, 2012

The rapid increase in prices for rare earths has proven a burden to the profitability of many companies, and even threatened the existence of some …  >>

 
Construction materials/suppliers study 2012

Study, 2012

Despite increasing prices for raw materials and energy, the fierce competitive environment and the volatile economy, the construction supply industry in Germany and Switzerland is seeing a positive future …  >>

 
The Rare Earth Challenge

Summary of study results, 2011

Rare Earth (RE) are a group of 17 metals which are required for many high tech applications – And they are not really "rare" …  >>