All about resins

Banking & Finance
| The European | 16th March 2015
Frank Aranzana, CEO, Allnex

Frank Aranzana, CEO, Allnex

A global company with $1.5bn in sales, Allnex is a leading supplier of resins and additives for architectural, industrial, protective, automotive and special purpose coatings and inks. Allnex is recognised as a specialty chemicals pioneer and for offering the broadest portfolio of high quality products. Its product range entails innovative liquid resins and additives, radiation cured and powder coating resins and additives and crosslinkers for use on wood, metal, plastic, and other surfaces.

With 17 manufacturing, 13 research and technology support facilities throughout the world, Allnex provides responsive, local support to its customers, helping them to rapidly bring advanced coating solutions to the market. The European caught with Frank Aranzana, CEO, Allnex to find out more.

Q: Outline the products and services Allnex provides.
Frank Aranzana: Allnex is a leading supplier of coating resins. Coatings are a thin covering layer spread over a surface for protection or decoration and resins are the polymers giving the key properties to coatings. We have the industry’s broadest portfolio of specialty resins, providing innovative liquid resins, energy cured and powder coating resins, crosslinkers and additives. Our products serve a really diverse range of end markets; everything from adhesives to automotive and industrial coatings, also coil coatings, packaging, as well as electronics, inks and architectural applications.

We use our technology and application development expertise to create solutions that perform specific and important functions for our customers.

Q: What sets Allnex apart from its competitors?
FA: There are several factors that make Allnex different. Our unique history puts us at the heart of the resin industry.

Though Allnex has existed as a standalone company for only two years, the origins of our manufacturing and production infrastructures go back several decades in the chemical industry. Thanks to this heritage, we have extensive industry knowledge and expertise enabling us to bring innovative, advanced coating solutions to the market.
Another feature is our global presence. Allnex is truly a global company; we have 17 manufacturing sites; 13 research and development and technology facilities spread throughout Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America. This enables us to offer customers a reliable supply of resins and additives no matter their location. It also means our customers are never far from a local customer support team, who focus on providing advice and support as required.

Q: Allnex has acquired Águia Química, one of Brazil’s largest manufacturers of resins. Is this the first step towards further expansion across South America?
FA: Globalisation and growth are two key priorities for Allnex. We have improved our strategic positioning for our customer base not only in Brazil but also in China in a relatively short timeframe. The acquisition of Águia Química, which is well established in the region, will enable us to complement our existing liquid resins and additives and crosslinkers businesses, and produce our products closer to our customers. We firmly believe that this acquisition will enable us to better serve our customers, not only in Brazil, but region wide. We also recently signed a joint venture with Eternal Materials Co, Ltd. We are waiting on final approval from the authorities, and once we receive it, our plan is to manufacture and supply amino crosslinker resins in Greater China, helping us to better serve our customers there.

Q: Why is Brazil such a key location for Allnex?
FA: All the emerging regions are important to Allnex because that is where growth is taking place. Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and has grown to become the world’s seventh largest economy, above Italy, Russia or India. With 200 million inhabitants and abundant natural resources, it has the potential to grow further. It has already become the fourth largest car market in the world. We currently supply our Brazilian customers from our sites in the US or Asia so having local production, closer to our customer, was a key objective. With Águia Química, we have now a great manufacturing facility, in which we are going to invest to produce more chemistries and localise our production.

Q: Allnex is a young company but has already come a long way. What are the next steps to continue this growth?
FA: We are an ambitious company, keen to grow and increase our global presence. We will do that via organic and inorganic growth. Innovation is a key driver of our success, and we spend a lot of time and energy investing in new technologies and working with our customers to create new solutions. Our technical specialists are committed to assisting our customers and suppliers worldwide to find technical solutions and accelerate the development of better products.

Our commercial strategy is to broaden our customer base, increase our responsiveness and focus on the needs of our customers. We have successfully implemented an initiative to re-direct resources to reduce formulation costs and ensure spending in technology resources is in line with the true needs of our customers. We have already seen a lot of traction from this shift in focus, validated by early signs of increased customer interest for new products on the market. We are also committed to growing the business through strategic investments and partnerships in the emerging regions. For Asia, in particular, we are actively looking to increase our footprint and develop manufacturing capabilities for products where we are not yet present.

In 2013 we invested in a new laboratory in Shanghai and increased the size of an existing laboratory in India. Also in China we are awaiting final clearance for our joint-venture agreement for the production of crosslinkers there, while just at the end of 2014, we acquired one of Brazil’s largest manufacturers of resins.

Q: What do you attribute your success to?
FA: Our early success is due to our commitment to operational excellence and continuous improvement; it is a top priority for all of us across all functions within the organisation. We recognise the responsibility that comes hand-in-hand with our industry requiring us to operate safely, responsibly and cost effectively. Placing a high value on these activities helps keep our employees safe, improves performance, reduces operating costs, and is what our customers, suppliers and employees rightly expect from us.

We are also blessed to have a supportive shareholder, facilitating our growth aspirations and investing to expand our business (Allnex is owned by Advent, a global private equity firm). The passion and expertise of our employees is certainly a success factor for us. Allnex prides itself on being able to provide unique solutions to our customers. Without the skill, dedication and determination that our people put into their work, we would not be where we are today. Considering we are such a young company, we owe a lot to the professionalism and teamwork of our people. All this and we are only two years old. Quite a beginning.

Further information
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