On the back of sustained confident growth in MDF demand, production capacity continues to be extended, as the current production facilities already operate at a capacity utilisation rate of 90%. At the end of 2002, overall MDF production capacity mounted to 11.5 million m3, which represents an increase of 7% compared to 2001. During 2002, five new investments in France, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia and Spain lifted the overall capacity by 740,000 m3. For 2003, a new line in Spain should become operational while a greenfield investment in Turkey should start production in the second half of the year. Next to these investments, one MDF plant is set to close in Romania during 2003. The overall production capacity at the end of 2003 would then total 11.7 million m3. For 2004, two investments in Belgium and Slovenia are announced, adding a capacity of 400,000 m3.
With the exception of Belgium, the six largest European consumers of MDF also represent the largest production capacities: Germany (29%), Italy (11%), Spain (10%), France (9%) and the UK (7%). Turkey is coming to the fore as sixth largest MDF producer, passing Poland in 2003 to take a share of 6%, whereas Poland remains at 5%.