Business Insights: Specialty Chemicals

Leading specialty chemicals players share their strategies

“One of the major strategic moves has been to realign our portfolio from a very cyclical business with a big presence in the automotive industry towards a more compact and resilient portfolio in specialty chemicals. We are also keen to grow further in strategic segments such as biocides and disinfectants, as well as growing our flame-retardant business and water purifications technologies.”

Vinod Agnihotri, Managing Director, ASEAN and Head of MPP – Asia Pacific, Lanxess

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of reaching out to a single supplier for a complete total solution, and this is what we want to offer. DIC is renowned for our printing inks, but would like to realize a value shift from a publications-central focus to a more diversified solution provider. Our vision is to define competitive advantages particularly in the packaging business.”

Paul Koek, Regional Managing Director, DIC Asia Pacific

“Although our Adhesive Technologies businesses were severely impacted by the pandemic during the first half of 2020, we are seeing gradual recovery in the industrial, consumer packaging, medical device and electronics sectors, while the automotive and aerospace sectors are slower to pick up. Besides greater specialization, the specialty chemicals industry plays a key role in the development of bio-based and environmentally friendly solutions for a broad range of industries.”

Thomas Holenia, President, Henkel Singapore

“Croda’s biggest investments are in the life sciences business, as we are purposefully moving from consumer health to patient health, and thus to supplying specialty chemicals, excipients, vaccines, and, with our Avanti acquisitions, making a presence in lipid nanoparticles. We will also scale our bio-technology solutions to meet our sustainability ambitions.”

Babu Alagappan, Managing Director, Croda Singapore

“Our management has announced this year that Arkema will become a 100% specialty chemicals player by 2024. To do so, we shall continue our organic growth, while also pursuing targeted divestments and acquisitions.”

Danny Foong, General Manager, Arkema Singapore

“In 2020, we rolled out a new global strategy that sees Nouryon deepening its footprint in four market segments: Agriculture, Buildings & Infrastructure, Cleaning Goods and Personal Care. From an inorganic standpoint, we always look for bolt-on acquisitions that help us deliver better and faster to our customers.”

Sobers Sethi, Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets and China, Nouryon

“The semiconductor industry had a very strong year in 2020, driven by demand for smartphones as 5G is rolled out globally, as well as recovering automotive and industrial sectors. There are also additional signs of recovery in memory with both DRAM and NAND customers running at high capacity utilization. Meanwhile, the pandemic did stall demand for pipeline performance materials in the oil and gas industry.”

Kuo Chun Wu, Global Business Director, CMC Materials

“We have seen high growth in home care, personal hygiene, laundry detergents, as people spend more time at home and there is a high level of scrutiny about cleanliness in commercial properties too. This year has been very busy for our business in the pharmaceuticals space, our products being used as ingredients going into personal hygiene products (e.g. hand sanitizers).”

Paul Nai, General Manager, Lubrizol Southeast Asia