InterviewHuntsman’s textile effects business to stay strong in Asia

29 July 2011 12:02  [Source: ICIS news]

By Pearl Bantillo

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--US chemicals producer Huntsman expects revenue at its textile effects business in Asia to continue posting strong growth, given the region’s robust domestic consumption, company executives told ICIS in an interview on Friday.

“We saw Asia recover more quickly… One of the strengths of Huntsman is we are a global business and we have a strong presence in each of the regions, so we’re able to take advantage of continued growth in Asia,” said Paul Hulme, president for global textile effects at Huntsman.

Hulme said that 55% of Huntsman’s textile effects business is in Asia at present.

“If you look at growth by region, business continues to grow in Asia by high double-digits. In Europe, US, [growth was] very much in line with economy (GDP growth). We see that growth continuing over the next year,” said Rohit Aggarwal, vice president for apparel & home textiles at Huntsman.

In 2010, the company’s global textile effects operations generated $787m in revenues, up 14% from 2009. The business accounted for 8.5% of Huntsman’s total revenue.

Huntsman relocated the global headquarters of its textile effects business to Singapore in 2009. This year, it added Pakistan in its list of Asian countries where the company has a manufacturing presence.

Huntsman has set up a formulation and distribution centre in Karachi, Pakistan that will open in August. In January this year, Huntsman also added a third production unit for textile effects in China in January 2011.

Elsewhere in Asia, Huntsman has textile effects production units in India, Indonesia and Thailand.

“This shows our continued investment in the region and to be closer to our customers and to market demand. All of our facilities are expandable depending on market demand,” Huntsman said in an e-mailed statement to ICIS, but did not disclose further details.

China and India, the biggest emerging economies of Asia, posted GDP growth rates in the high single-digit levels despite the global economic recession in 2009.

“We have continually been re-aligning the business [and] our manufacturing footprints to the market… We are very much focused on key markets, particularly in Asia, while protecting our business in Europe and the US,” said Hulme.

The eurozone and US are currently grappling with respective debt issues that will heavily weigh on overall consumption if further fiscal austerity measures are required.

Hulme said these economies may take about two to three years to fully recover from this predicament.

Huntsman’s textile effects business has launched 60 new technology products over the past two years, on which the operations derived a quarter of its sales, company executives said.

So far this year, the company has introduced a total of 22 new products aimed at environmental sustainability as well as in reducing customers’ operational cost, said Steve Gray, vice president for research and technology on global textile effects at Huntsman.

Among its new products is Avitera, which is designed to reduce water and energy consumption in the textile dyeing process, company executives said.

Huntsman continuously invests in technology, with a yearly budget for research and development set at 5% of annual revenue, said Hulme.

($1 = €0.70)


By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359

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