20 March 2009 12:42 [Source: ICIS news]
By Will Beacham
LONDON (ICIS news)--Huntsman’s advanced materials business is weathering the downturn well, with strong growth in ?xml:namespace>
Andre Genton told ICIS news that the group’s predominantly high-tech product range allowed it to recover from a tough fourth quarter, with business now returning to the same level as September 2008.
Genton said the Asia business was growing strongly, benefiting from government stimulus plans, especially in
Genton conceded that Europe and the
He said hardest hit by the downturn had been commodities such as generic epoxy resins, where Huntsman had seen demand fall by 20%. This drop in demand led to plants switching from three to two shift operations and holidays have been organised to meet production requirements.
But, he added: “We are a technology-driven company with few commodity products. Even in commodities we have unique products which are tailor-made for customers.”
Globally, product substitution was helping his division as it took advantage of the switch from ceramics and metals. In construction, for example, adhesives such as Araldite were expected to account for 20% of the assembly market, up from 10% today.
Genton said the group benefited from being in different parts of the value chain in some product areas. “In aerospace, for example, we supply direct to plane manufacturers but also supply raw mats [materials] to adhesives producers [who sell to aerospace]. That way we can extract maximum growth from each market.”
Companies such as global aerospace manufacturers wanted to be sure they were adhering to its requirements by using well-prepared suppliers, he added.
“Huntsman has spent millions of dollars over the last six years [in preparation] and customers value that,” he said.
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