Question: MBCC Group has announced a price increase before the turn of the year 2020 to 2021 – which products are affected and what is the reason behind it?
Fischer: As of 21 December 2020, we have increased prices for Master Builders Solutions products in Europe by an average of 4–6%, as far as existing contractual agreements allow. The COVID 19 pandemic has led to cost-increasing occupational health and safety measures on the one hand, and to supply shortages of important raw materials on the other. As a result, the prices of important raw materials have risen significantly, and the costs for production, freight and logistics are also increasing substantially. We were forced to react to this situation with price adjustments.
Heegewaldt: Our business model at Master Builders Solutions in the DACH region is to provide our customers with technically and economically convincing construction chemical solutions. On the one hand, the customer needs the right building chemical product for the respective situation and, on the other hand, a competent technical service that ensures that the product is applied correctly on site, in the factory or on the construction site. In the future, we will continue to rely on our technical strength and on innovations – driven by our R&D orientation. We find that our customers see significant value in this and are in principle willing to pay a price that reflects these costs.
Fischer: As a result of accelerated sustainability commitments, the European Union has recently significantly increased its CO2 reduction targets. The prices for CO2 emission certificates have risen to new highs in recent months – all experts expect them to increase further. In Germany, additional sectors of the national economy have been newly included in the CO2 taxation as of 1 January 2021, so that the price of diesel, for example, has increased by 0.08 euros per litre simply because of the CO2 costs.
Question: Hasn't the pandemic led to lower demand and lower prices?
Heegewaldt: No. Despite the pandemic, construction costs continued to rise in 2020 - as in previous years. According to the Federal Statistical Office, construction prices in Germany rose by 2.5 % in relation to the previous year when the temporary reduction in VAT is factored out. Construction price inflation is still far above the average consumer price inflation of provisionally 0.5 % in 2020.
Economists expect consumer price inflation in Germany to rise to over 2 % in 2021. The building materials price increases currently communicated in the building materials trade of between 2 and 10 % are being applied very extensively to almost the entire range in fit-out, construction elements, roofing, tiling, building construction, timber, construction equipment and civil engineering. Construction chemicals must also react in this context.
Question: Why is there a strong focus on alkali-free accelerators in tunnelling?
Heegewaldt: Due to their low specific price, alkali-free accelerators in tunnel construction in particular are very dependent on rising logistics costs. In addition, sales prices have come under particular pressure in recent years. Due to the tense situation, we had to raise the price of alkali-free shotcrete accelerators in tunnel construction by 0.05 euros per kilogramme with immediate effect, insofar as contracts allow this.