Dow upbeat on cleaning chemical business in 2009

28 January 2009 03:24  [Source: ICIS news]

BOCA RATON, Florida (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical’s fabric and surface care business should be able to weather the current economic recession, company officials said late Tuesday.

“We were happy with the business’ results in 2008 and overall demand within the cleaning industry continues to be good,” said Tony Frencham, general manager and global director for Dow Fabric & Surface Care, on the sidelines of the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

The business' global marketing director Carlos Silva Lopes said that the cleaning industry worldwide saw growth last year at above average GDP mostly driven by double-digit growths in markets such as Brazil, Eastern Europe, India and China, as well as increased demand in areas such as the industrial and institutional cleaning market.

“The cleaning industry usually has very low sensitivity to economic cycles,” said Lopes. “The market overall still grew in 2008 despite the current economic recession,” he added.

Still, some capacities within the business were not running at full operation at the start of this year, Frencham admitted. He pointed out, however, that the hurricanes in the Gulf Coast last year had a bigger impact on their operations compared to the current economic crisis. 

“We had (a) number of plants that were out which made it a little difficult for us to supply our customers for a while but we kept them [our customers] running and help them through the process,” Frencham added.

The officials added that their new strategy of becoming more of a market facing business instead of just a product supplier had a very positive feedback from their customers.

 At the SDA event, Dow formally launched its second-generation biodegradable specialty surfactants under the ECOSURF EH line for hard surface cleaning application.

Compared to primary alcohol ethoxylates and nonylphenol ethoxylates, Frencham said the ECOSURF EH surfactants can provide greater flexibility to meet increasing stringent environmental regulations especially for cleaning chemicals.

Dow recalled the success of its first generation ECOSURF SA surfactants, which was launched last year.

“We have several more cleaning chemicals in the pipeline that are geared towards sustainability, which reveals to our customers our solid commitment to this theme even through these dire times,” said Lopes.

He added: “At these times there are things we need to prioritize. Investment and innovation related to sustainability is our key priority.”

The SDA meeting ends on Saturday.

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By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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