BASF Targets Locating 25% of its R&D Operations in Asia

BASF SE inaugurated a new global Research and Development (R&D) Center at its Thane site in Navi Mumbai, India, focusing on organic synthesis, advanced process and formulation research, discovery chemistry for modern agricultural solutions, and molecular modelling. With an initial investment of Euro 2 million, this new facility has been set up by BASF under its group Company, BASF Chemicals India Pvt Ltd. The new R&D facilities will accommodate more than 60 scientists in the first phase.

While commenting on the occasion, Dr Harald Lauke, President, Biological & Effect Systems Research at BASF said that by establishing a global research presence in Mumbai, the company will be able to work directly with a wide range of scientific talents in India and take steps towards its strategic goal to innovate from Asia Pacific, for Asia Pacific and the world. The company is also currently evaluating further investment options into R&D in Asia Pacific, including India. “With our R&D Center in Navi Mumbai we have taken a significant step closer to BASF’s globalisation goal in R&D. By 2020, we plan to conduct 50 per cent of our research activities outside of Europe – one quarter in Asia Pacific,” he added.

In his first interaction with media after assuming the new role of Chairman and Managing Director Dr Raman Ramachandran said, “India is a core market for BASF with a strong scientific community. By enhancing our local R&D presence, together we can realise advances which go beyond the scope of today’s solutions.”

In 2013, BASF continued the worldwide expansion of its research and development centers, especially in Asia and North America. With an investment of Euro 1.8 billion in R&D, a highly talented workforce of approximately 10,650 employees worldwide, and a research pipeline of 3,000 projects globally, BASF is committed to offering chemistry-based solutions for almost all sectors of the industry. BASF filed around 1,300 new patents worldwide in 2013.

In India, BASF maintains a strong R&D presence through its sites in Mangalore and Mumbai, which are part of a global Technology Platform. Strategically located to offer close proximity to key production assets and customers, these facilities support close collaboration between research, development and business teams on site.

While addressing the media gathering held at BASF site in Turbhe in Thane district of Mumbai, Lauke mentioned that India is abundant with talent and as BASF moves towards establishing more research centre in Asia; the country will definitely play a crucial role. He informed that BASF is in contact with eminent universities in India, and has already hired about 30 people in its research and development wing.

While replying to a question on company’s performance in recent few years, Ramchandran said that BASF was about Rs 4600 crore company five year ago and its sales revenue has almost doubled in the year 2013. In India, the company has invested in a new plant in Mangalore, which dedicated to manufacture catalysts that are used for fine chemical industry. “We have invested about 1000 crore in Dahej as well,” Ramchandran added.

BASF has invested significantly in research and development around the globe. Last year, the company has strengthens its enzyme technology footprint by completing the acquisition of Henkel’s detergents enzyme technology, and entering into research and license agreement with the global biotechnology companies Dyadic International, Inc and Direvo Industrial Biotechnology GmbH. Lauke said that association and acquisitions are crucial for increasing company’s portfolio. “We had long time association with Verenium, which is a California-based industrial biotechnology company that specialises in the development of high performance enzymes. They had superb technology, but the company was lacking in easy market access. BASF joined the forces with them and successfully strengthened its enzyme business… Biotechnology is significant and we want to use the technology to produce new and better products” he added.