InterviewUnivar aims to optimise Brazil chemical distribution

14 June 2013 21:34  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS)--US-based chemical distributor Univar will focus on optimising its Brazil operations, building on its 2011 acquisition of Arinos, the new head of its Brazil operations said on Friday.

"Brazil presents huge opportunities with strong markets and good potential for growth, along with some challenges related to cost, taxation and infrastructure," Univar Brazil president Marco Antonio Quirino said.

"We are bringing Univar’s global strategy to the Brazil market and will capture those growth opportunities," he added.

He said the company’s key task will be to get the most out of its September 2011 acquisition of large Brazilian chemical distributor Arinos Quimica in the areas of polyurethanes, personal care ingredients, food additives, and industrial chemicals.

Quirino, who was appointed president of Univar Brazil in May, said: "We want to grow more in these sectors, where Arinos has a strong presence. Plus, we see additional opportunities in construction and infrastructure in Brazil.

"There is a lot of investment coming in this area to meet the demands of the population – not just from building ahead of the World Cup and Olympics."

Brazil is preparing to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. This will require massive investment in construction, from stadiums to housing, as well as infrastructure.

Other areas of company interest include chemicals for oil and gas development and mining in Brazil, along with agricultural chemicals.

"These are potentially good opportunities in Brazil and we will start looking at them with care," Quirino said.

Univar will seek to leverage its global reach in the Brazil market through Arinos by expanding its product offerings.

"We are already adding products to the Arinos portfolio by developing relationships with local suppliers and also sourcing globally," Quirino said. "We are going to grow faster than Brazil’s economy by developing new customers and new suppliers."

Following strong GDP growth rates from 2004-2008, when they averaged 4.8%, Brazil’s economy has been facing challenges in recent years.

In mid-June, the World Bank cut its GDP forecast for Brazil in 2013 from 3.4% to 2.9%. Brazil’s GDP grew just 0.9% in 2012.

While mergers and acquisitions (M&A) remains a key part of Univar’s overall strategy, in Brazil the company will focus first on leveraging its existing operations, Quirino said.

By: Joseph Chang
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