InterviewDuPont unveils consultant business, targets $15bn market

15 April 2010 22:20  [Source: ICIS news]

WeigandBy Al Greenwood and Judith Taylor

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chemical major DuPont has placed its training and consulting units under one business, a move that could help both highlight the company's consultancy business and target a market worth $15bn (€11m), executives said on Thursday.

The new business, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, brings together the company's various safety, environmental and training consultancies. Sustainable Solutions also includes DuPont's Clean Technologies, which provides equipment and services to help reduce emissions.

DuPont has actually had a consultant business for several years, said Jim Weigand, president of DuPont Sustainable Solutions. However, DuPont was still considered mainly a product- and asset-driven company.   

"Over the last couple of years, we've really gone out to leverage the base of the safety business and expand it to bring out DuPont's knowledge and real-world experience to the marketplace," Weigand said.

By bringing the practice areas under one roof, Sustainable Solutions would help DuPont highlight its service and training business, Weigand said. "It is really an opportunity to expand on our services portfolio."

The global market for such services is huge - worth $15bn, according to DuPont estimates.

An example is the Middle East, where new chemical plants are being built by a number of companies. Those plants could become Sustainable Solutions customers, offering employee training and management guidance as needed. 

In fact, DuPont's Sustainable Solutions division recently reached an agreement with a company in Saudi Arabia regarding clean technologies, Weigand said.

Regulations such as Reach (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) could create more business, although DuPont was still considering whether it would expand into that area, Weigand said. 

Other fields, such as mining, power and transportation, could also hold potential customers , he said.

"We’ve earned the right to be in this space by our 200 years of safety performance," Weigand said.

"We have a variety of processes - some hazardous, some non- hazardous - within DuPont that we run everyday on a very safe basis. That gave us the opportunity to go out and bring our safety methodology and safety expertise to the marketplace," he said.

Although DuPont has competitors, Weigand said Sustainable Solutions was unique in terms of its breadth and its experience.

DuPont actually operates plants, and it could speak to customers from hands-on experience stretching back 200 years, Weigand said.

"In the end, when you look at the variety that we have plus the experience we're bringing, it's a pretty unique position," he said.

Among the practice areas of Sustainable Solutions, the newest one was Clean Technologies.  

Clean Technologies was focused on upstream oil and gas, seeking to bring DuPont's expertise toward cleaner fuels and mitigating air emissions, according to Steven Burtch, managing director of the Clean Technologies group. 

Future plans for Clean Technologies included addressing applications for renewable diesel and de-sulphurisation, Burtch said.  

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Judith Taylor
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