By Liz White, UT staffGreenville, South Carolina-Span-America Medical Systems, Inc. announced 13 Oct that it expects prices for polyurethane foam to increase by up to 37 percent in the near future. But contrary to recent statements from bedding and furniture makers, the maker of medical mattresses and other pressure-relief products said it is not expecting shortages. “Based on information from key suppliers, the company does not anticipate any shortage or allocations of foam,”-its major raw material, Span-America said in its 13 Oct statement. “We believe the current foam market volatility will subside in time as supply, demand and pricing become more balanced,” said James Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of Greenville-based Span-America, in the statement.”We were notified by our largest suppliers that foam prices will rise in the range of 10 percent to 37 percent, depending on the type of foam,” from 7 Nov, said “Ferguson. Our suppliers also indicated that Span-America will not be on allocation for polyurethane foam. We believe this will allow us to continue supplying our customers without interruption,” he continued. Pointing out that the recent hurricanes have had a severe effect on the supply of toluene diisocyanate, a key component in PU foams, Ferguson added that the price of polyols, another key foam component, has been significantly affected by the rising price of natural gas. Span-America expects the “TDI supply problems to be short-lived,” but feels that “the higher price of polyol might last longer” Ferguson said. “We plan to pass on the higher costs wherever possible, but we cannot predict how market conditions will affect pricing,” he said, adding that the firm “may also pick up additional business if our competitors experience foam shortages due to potential allocation and supply problems. ” “
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