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1.1 Definition and scope of study

Fiberglass is a filamentous material obtained by stretching softened or melted glass [Larousse]. Since its patenting in 1930, fiberglass has become an essential element of insulation and construction in many industries: buildings, transport, electricity, sports, leisure and industrial equipment.

The manufacture of glass fibers in France is included under the code 23.14Z in the nomenclature of French activities (INSEE). We will therefore focus on the companies included in this class. The fiberglass market is a sub-segment of the glass and glassware market which is itself included in non-metallic mineral products.

France counted 200 companies in the glass market in 2016, and, therefore, less than 200 companies in the glass fiber market, which makes it a market with relatively few players involved. The market leaders are Saint Gobain and its subsidiary Isover, Owens Corning (United States) and Xella (Germany). The French production of glass fibers represents approximately 8,3% of the global market for total lens production.

The market is driven upwards by the following factors: very dynamic aeronautics and automotive industries on the one hand, and energy renovation and new construction on the other hand. The latter segment faces an imposing regulatory framework.

1.2 Key figures of the world market

The world market for the manufacture of glass fiber is estimated at *.* billion in **** with a CAGR of *.*% planned for the period ****-**** by the research institute Future Market Insights. According to the same source, China is the leading manufacturer of glass fibers with a **% market share. It is also the ...

1.3 French overview against European competitors

We can estimate the size of the glass fiber market in France at about *** million euros.
Indeed, the total turnover of glass fiber manufacturers in France amounts to ***.** million dollars in **** or *.*% of the total production of glass and glass products [***]. This figure is estimated at ***.* million for the year ****, an ...


2.1 The main demand sectors

Thanks to its optical properties (***) and insulation, glass fiber is a common material in several very diverse sectors; according to Saint-Gobain Vetrotex, the sectors of global demand for glass fiber are, in order of importance:
Buildings and infrastructure (***)
The first market for glass fiber manufacturers, the material is mainly found in ...

2.2 Buildings and infrastructure

New construction market
According to the statistical data and studies for climate change, energy, environment, housing, and transport, authorizations for housing construction decreased during the last quarter of February to April **** (***).
Regarding individual dwellings, the authorizations have decreased by *.*% over the same period while housing starts are also in a *.*% decrease ...

2.3 Transport industry

French and European aeronautical and space production
According to EUROSTAT data, French aeronautical and space production increased by **.*% between **** and **** while production in the European Union increased by **.*% over the same period. Airbus, Europe's leading aircraft manufacturer, recorded a record number of orders at the end of ****, with *** net new orders, ...

2.4 Electronics, computer and optical industry

Glass fibers can be used as electrical insulators, for example in cathode ray tubes used in the electronic, computer and optical industries. These industries have progressed of **% in value within the European Union between **** and **** in terms of production. In France, production has increased by *,*% over the same period. [***]
Production in ...


3.1 Structural market indices

Market concentration
According to the Commercial Court Registers, the main companies in the French sector in **** are Saint Gobain and its subsidiary Isover (***).
Market share of the main glass fibers and technical glass manufacturers, in ****

The top three companies, the top five companies, the top ten companies
Source: ****
Methodology: companies listed ...

3.2 Manufacturing process for glass fibres

Glass fibres generally require * steps of manufacturing:
Refining at ****°C Wiring by stretching Sizing This action consists in adding a protective coating to group filaments together. Finishing Yarns are cut according to the purposes. Drying
There are different types of glass used in the manufacture of fibers, depending on the use ...

3.3 Distribution of building materials

Building material manufacturing companies are the leading producers of glass fibers, in particular through the production of insulating materials such as glass wool.
The National Federation of Wood and Building Materials (***) makes it possible to report on distribution activities in this field, in particular through its regular publications such as its ...

3.4 Indirect competition for mineral wool

The production of glass fibers is facing increasing indirect competition from the development of substitutes made of vegetable or bio-sourced fibers. Glass wool, the main thermal insulation of buildings made of glass fibers, is sometimes considered carcinogenic or which may cause dermatitis by irritation, glass fibre fragments can remain in the ...


4.1 Analysis by type of glass fibre

Fibre composition
Different varieties of glass fibres are manufactured according to a precise nomenclature for different uses:
Source: ****
The composition of glass fibers thus varies according to the type of glass required. Boron oxide, for example, is more common in the composition of D glasses (***) while alumina is more common in ...

4.2 Consumer Price Index

EUROSTAT data for the year **** on the unit values of the different fiberglass products are given in the table below. Prices are given in €/kg.
Source: ****
Note. The data marked ":C" are classified under statistical confidentiality and are therefore not freely available.


5.1 Support for energy renovation

Several measures are implemented by the French government to promote buildings' energy retrofit [***]:
Energy Transition Tax Credit (***)
It allows households to reduce their income taxes by a portion of the energy retrofit expenses incurred in their main home. According to the National Union of Maintenance and Energy Efficiency Services (***), "the tax ...

5.2 Classification used in this study

*-digit Combined Nomenclature (***)
This nomenclature is common to all European Union (***) Member States and is used to:
Customs declarations for trade with EU countries, Declarations of trade in goods between EU countries, Present foreign trade statistics.
The CN* is an extension of the Harmonized System (***), an international nomenclature, and has just ...


6.1 Segmentation

Source: ****

  • Isover Saint Gobain
  • OCV Chambéry France
  • Ursa France
  • Corning France
  • Knauf Insulation Lannemezan
  • Chomarat Textiles Industries
  • Thermal Ceramics France
  • Lydall Performance Materials
  • Saint Gobain Quartz

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