# 2004 Milan
Plastics pipes have gained a majority position in the European pipe market, and a global volume worth 2500 ktons in 2003. After a slight contraction in 2003, the thermoplastic pipe market is expected to continue steady growth in the medium term, mainly due to opportunities for replacement of water mains in aged and leaking networks across Europe. It will be sustained by a steady growth of PE100 at 8-10% per year, and high growth of PVC and PP in non pressure applications. But the market will remain a low margin business for some time, squeezed by the high price of feedstock and the strong competition in pipes. Innovations are on their way both in materials and technologies, but more novelties are coming in communication and business opportunities. The big challenge and opportunity for the plastics industry comes from the globalisation of the utility market, and especially for water. The spending required to fulfil the goals stated by the UN for water supply and sanitation is estimated to be around 90 bnUSD/y over the next 10 years; even with a conservative estimate there is an opportunity for the global plastics pipes industry to grow to nearly 3.5 Mt of PVC and 1 Mt of PE in the coming six or seven years. We are absolutely confident of the success of plastics pipes; medium and long term will offer new markets and novel adventures, but we’ll need to think global and to act accordingly, finding more value in a global service towards a global market; and providing a single face to utilities companies and public authorities.