Düsseldorf — Swiss-based specialty chemicals company Clariant has set its sights on considerably expanding its presence in the emerging markets, or more specifically, in the Middle East, China, India and Indonesia. "The future of our company will be decided in these markets," said Christian Kohlpainter, member of the executive committee at Clariant at K 2013. "The emerging markets are growing two to three times as fast as the mature markets. We have to be there."
On the growth side, he outlined a number of major investments, including the new pigment plant in Zhenjiang, China and the acquisition of the organic pigment business of organic pigment producer, Jiangsu Multicolor in the pigments business unit. Investment in a new pigments preparations plant in Tangerang, Indonesia will double capacity there, while in Roha, India, 50% capacity for Azo pigments and pigment preparations is being added, which is scheduled to come on stream by late 2014.
"We're moving advanced technology into the emerging markets," Kohlpainter said. "The business is very focused on the local markets. And as part of this strategy, we are also investing heavily in human resources: we're doubling our marketing staff in these areas as well as adding technical service capabilities - in Shanghai - to strengthen our support to customers there."
Next to growth, the company also talked about a number of innovative developments in the pigments business unit, as well as in the additives and masterbatch businesses. Highlights in the pigments business were the low halogen controlled colorants, which the company says can aid in reducing the halogen content of E&E, and packaging applications, and in toys, and an innovative program of organic pigments to replace the lead chromate pigments that will be banned in the EU from May 2015.
Innovation highlights in the masterbatch business were the new integrated system for liquid masterbatches, designed for a variety of polymer and production processes. Recent development focus has been on advancing EBM monolayer production processes. According to Hans Bohnen, head of Clariant's masterbatch business unit, this is a "cutting edge product, first seen here at K". He explained: "Liquid masterbatch technology is still a niche - but a fast growing one, especially packaging applications. Brand owners, especially, are interested in the liquid technology because of the minimal impact on product properties, and the excellent appearance. Our goal is to double our business in this area."
He also announced that Clariant was to open its first Project House in Italy in November 2013. Representing a two-million euro investment, the project will co-locate industry knowhow and connect teams of experts from around the world, "to exchange expertise and explore emerging technologies in the masterbatch field. The initial focus will be on functional packaging - the most important market segment in Clariant's masterbatch portfolio," Bohnen said.
On the additives side, Michael Grosskopf, head of the Additives business unit, introduced Clariant's new AddWorks polymer additive solutions, designed to address application specific needs in six segments: agriculture, automotive and transportation, packaging, construction, E&E and textiles and fibers. Grosskopf: "We no longer design an additive for a particular chemical substance, we design package solutions that can be tweaked to address specific needs as required. It's all about making it simple for customers."
He added: "Solutions are focused on achieving greater cost-efficiency, improved environmental performance and product differentiation. It's all about performance - enhancing the performance of the product."