InterviewSwiss distributor DKSH aims to boost Asia leadership

02 August 2012 12:36  [Source: ICIS news]

By Will Beacham

Mario Preissler of DKSHLONDON (ICIS)--DKSH aims to continue boosting its presence in Asia mainly through organic growth complemented by strategic acquisitions, Mario Preissler, head of the distributor’s performance materials business, said on Thursday.

The Swiss-headquartered company is already a market leader in its traditional strongholds such as southeast Asia and Japan, where it has been doing business for almost 150 years.

It now aims to boost its position across Asia by strengthening existing operations in China, India, and Korea and will consider acquisition opportunities to complement organic growth.

“Our focus is on leveraging our solutions-oriented business model to achieve strong organic growth, by expanding existing business and developing new businesses. We do consider acquisitions in strategic areas to complement our organic growth. In China, for example, the market is very fragmented and it is difficult to grow just organically,” said Preissler.

The company – which ranked number three in Asia in the new ICIS Top 100 Chemical Distributors listing - is already well established in China and has now opened a fourth China sales office in Beijing after Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The same applies for India, where DKSH is present with seven sales offices.

Organic growth is a key part of the growth strategy for this company which brands itself as “the leading market expansion services group” rather than following a traditional distribution business model. This means offering a much wider range of services to clients and customers, including research and development, marketing, sales and after-sales services.

To support its philosophy of offering more than just distribution the company has opened a series of innovation centers and now has 23 globally, 20 of these in Asia. The company offers a broad portfolio of services and products, focusing on materials for the pharma and personal care industries, paints, coatings, and plastics industries plus food ingredients.

Preissler said: “These labs enable us to showcase our clients’ materials by incorporating them into products that make tangible sense to our customers. We will continue investing in extending our innovation centre network.  So far in 2012 we have opened new innovation centres in Taipei, Taiwan and Mumbai, India, both for confectionery and bakery products, plus one in Bangkok, Thailand, for coatings. We plan to open more.”

2012 has already been a busy year for DKSH, which in March went through an initial public offering and listed more than 30% of its shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange, with a market capitalisation estimated at around Swfr 3.01bn (€2.46bn, $3.03bn).

According to Preissler, the move has not had any direct impact on the group’s growth strategy: “What the IPO has resulted in is that it has significantly raised the awareness of DKSH and we have gained a lot more visibility, not only with the financial community but also with our business partners in the specialty chemicals industry. This supports Business Unit Performance Materials in consolidating its position as a leading specialty chemicals distributor.”

Asked to sum up the group’s growth strategy, he added: “Our clear target is to be the number one business partner for our clients and customers, especially in Asia. We are in negotiations for partnerships with some leading European specialty chemicals manufacturers which we hope to finalise by the end of the year.”

($1 = €0.82, €1 = Swfr1.20)

By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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