Demand for surfactants into cleaners to shift focus as pandemic eases - Stepan

Author: Antoinette Smith

2021/04/27

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based Stepan anticipates continued Covid-related demand for surfactants into cleaners and disinfectants, even as the pandemic is expected to recede in coming months.

"We believe there may be some decline in consumer washing habits as we go forward but those will be offset by enhanced cleaning in the industrial and institutional markets," said Quinn Stepan Jr, chairman and CEO, during the company's Q1 earnings presentation on 27 April.

Cleaning protocols in public spaces - schools, hospitals and airplanes, for example - have changed due to the pandemic, said Luis Rojo, vice president and CFO.

Scott Behrens, president and COO, said: "A lot of the hospitality industry is going to try to restore public confidence that their families can be safe in these public places, so visible cleaning should be a big part of economies reopening around the world."

Behrens said these changes - for example, cleaning crews being active during the day when people are present to see the cleaning being done, rather than in the middle of the night - could provide a boost to Stepan's surfactants business.

"We’ll see how that impacts us – if it offsets the consumer demand,” Rojo said.

Stepan products are used in a variety of sectors, including coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers; construction; cleaning; insulation; oilfield; and personal care.

Thumbnail image shows detergent bubbles. Image by Shutterstock