BOSTON— The CEO of carbon black supplier Cabot Corp. said recently he expects to see "solid growth" in the North American tire sector due to "long-term fundamentals" of the market.
In a full-year results conference call on Nov. 2, Sean Keohane said tire-plant investments were ramping up in North America with "a shift towards more local production [there] that will support growth rates in that range."
Mr. Keohane went on to predict a "swing" into a period of 2- to 3-percent growth in tire production in North America. This, he noted, has not been the case throughout the past few years due to significant tire imports into the region.
More generally, the Cabot boss said the global market for reinforcement materials remained "supportive," with strength in Europe driven by "solid demand and high utilization rates."
In terms of emerging markets, Mr. Keohane said that South America continued to gain momentum across all product categories, as local economies slowly recover.
For 2018, the Cabot CEO forecast a general 2- to 3-percent growth range for carbon black and tire and rubber applications, with Cabot's volumes to grow in line with the market.