InterviewSwiss distributor DKSH switches focus from Asia to Europe

19 June 2013 09:55  [Source: ICIS news]

By John Baker

HAMBURG (ICIS)--Swiss specialty chemical distribution specialist DKSH is expanding its operations and strengthening its position in Europe after many years of specialising in market expansion services in Asia, a senior executive at the firm said late on Tuesday.

The company’s business unit for performance materials is taking on more people in Europe and expanding laboratory facilities in France to better serve customers in the food and personal care sectors.

“The EU continues to be an attractive specialty chemicals market – it is a large economy and has a high degree of industrialisation and manufacturing,” said Mario Preissler, head of DKSH's performance materials unit, speaking to ICIS on the sidelines of the annual conference of the European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC).

DKSH will use its extensive position and knowledge of the Asian markets to source materials from here to serve the European market, he explained, with a focus initially on western Europe where it already has a small presence. In the not too distant future it will also look at entering eastern Europe.

Last year it acquired Swiss specialty chemicals distributor Staerkle & Nagler, to enhance its position as a pan-European distributor, particularly in Austria and Switzerland. It also joined the FECC in June this year.

DKSH is now adding more sales personnel in Germany, Spain, UK, France and Italy. It is also expanding its regulatory affairs capability in its Lyon office in France.

DKSH will provide quality products for the European market, concentrating on the pharma, food and personal care sectors primarily, with plastics and coatings also in the mix, Preissler said.

The company is commencing exclusive agreements this year with Doxa in Taiwan, which specialises in additives for coatings, inks and plastics, and is extending its arrangement with Japan’s Nagase for specialty additives for personal care and with Wright Group for food product additives.

It also has new collaborations with Dow Corning for silicone derivatives for the composites industry, and Silverhawk in China, for cellulose ethers for coatings, said Preissler.

“We will represent Asian manufacturers in Europe, especially from Japan and South Korea; they like to work with DKSH as we know them well. We will also source some materials from India and China.”

In China, DKSH is investing in a quality control laboratory so it can test materials before shipping to customers in Europe.

To accelerate growth in Europe, Preissler indicated DKHS will also look to further bolt-on acquisitions in the region. DKSH’s performance materials business had global sales of Swiss francs (Swfr) 751m ($816m, €611m) in 2013.

($1 = €0.75)
($1 = Swfr0.92, €1 = Swfr1.23)

By: John Baker
+44 20 8652 3214

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