ICIS Top 100 Chemical Distributors: Univar aims to boost Brazil operations

12 July 2013 09:46  [Source: ICB]

US-based chemical distributor Univar will focus on optimising its Brazil operations, building on its 2011 acquisition of major Brazilian chemical distributor Arinos Quimica.

"Brazil presents huge opportunities with strong markets and good potential for growth, along with some challenges related to cost, taxation and infrastructure," said Marco Antonio Quirino, president of Univar Brazil. "We are bringing Univar's global strategy to the Brazil market and will capture those growth opportunities."

Univar HQ

 Univar's Brazil headquarters in Osasco, Sao Paulo state

The 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 (PU), personal care ingredients, food additives and industrial chemicals.


"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," Quirino said. "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 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," said Quirino.


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

Marco Antonia Quirino

"We are already adding products to the Arinos portfolio by developing relationships with local suppliers and also sourcing globally"

Marco Antonia Quirino
President, Univar Brazil

"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 averaging 4.8%, Brazil's economy has faced 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) remain a key part of Univar's overall strategy, in Brazil, the company will focus first on leveraging its existing operations, he noted.


Quirino was appointed president of Univar Brazil in May 2013, bringing more than 25 years of experience in the chemical industry and extensive knowledge of the Brazilian market.

Quirino worked for Brazil-based petrochemical and polymers giant Braskem, being responsible for its commercial and industrial operations. He also spent 20 years US-based Dow Chemical, holding a number of positions including commercial director for plastics and marketing manager serving Latin America. Quirino handled relationships with distributors for both commodity and specialty chemicals at Dow. At Braskem, he was responsible for polymers distribution.

"I understand what suppliers expect from distributors and also dealt with customers all the time. So I've seen both sides of the picture, developing both customer and key supplier relationships," said Quirino.

Univar aims to bring global expertise and a more competitive capability into Brazil, leading to higher overall standards, he said.

"Brazil's chemical distribution market traditionally consisted of small to medium-sized family-owned companies. From end users' perspective, they just added cost," said Quirino.

"But our view is that we can provide a complete package of services and add value to the distribution channel, ultimately reducing complexity and leading to improved safety. It will be an evolution for the distribution channel in Brazil to higher standards," he added.

By: Joseph Chang
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