InterviewRhodia sees no signs of major China slowdown - CEO

10 June 2011 22:42  [Source: ICIS news]

By Joseph Chang

NEW YORK (ICIS)--France-based chemical company Rhodia is not seeing signs of a major slowdown in the China market, its chief executive said on Friday.

“People are concerned about China, but we see no material signs of a slowdown,” said chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu in an interview with ICIS.

“China continues to be a dynamic market. April was a little slow, but we see this as a short-term phenomenon rather than a long-term change in trend,” he added.

The CEO said he expects China’s automotive market to still experience healthy growth of around 15% versus over 20% in 2010 and 50% in 2009.

“The growth we saw in 2009 is clearly not sustainable long term, but we will still see significant growth in the automotive, as well as other markets in China,” said Clamadieu.

“The Chinese government is doing a good job of managing economic growth and avoiding asset bubbles,” he added.

Rhodia is a major producer of polyamide (nylon) for the global auto market, along with surfactants, personal care chemicals and other specialty chemicals.

Demand continues to be strong for polyamide, and supply disruptions this year have made for a tight market, said the CEO.

“The Japan impact [resulting from the 11 March earthquake] has been minimal for our business. Demand is strong and there is still tight supply as production from other players was disrupted earlier in the year,” Clamadieu said.

Clamadieu said he is “cautiously optimistic” on Rhodia’s overall business performance for 2011.

“We don’t see much of a change in trends since the beginning of the year. The second quarter is close to the first quarter in terms of business conditions,” he said.

“But if there is a downturn, we are prepared,” he added.

Rhodia is being acquired by Belgium-based chemical group Solvay for €3.4bn ($2.3bn).

Clamadieu is set to become CEO of Solvay when current CEO Christian Jourquin retires within the next 18 months.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on Rhodia visit ICIS company intelligence


By: Joseph Chang
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