Clariant: Leading the Pack
Sandeep Puri, LBL Head India ?? Masterbatches, Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited.

Clariant in India is focusing on organic and inorganic growth by repositioning its product portfolio, in line with its global corporate strategy and with an increased focus on emerging markets in India, China, Middle-East, ASEAN and Latin America, says Sandeep Puri, LBL Head India - Masterbatches, Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited.

Clariant Chemicals (India) Ltd has announced plans to acquire the masterbatches business of Plastichemix Industries Ltd. for Rs 135 crore. Post-acquisition, Clariant would be the largest specialty masterbatches business producer in India. The deal closure is planned for Q1, 2014.

Puri says that the acquisition is in line with the strategy to focus on core businesses and enable Clariant in India to be the largest player in the specialty masterbatches business. The company aims to double its masterbatches business in the next five years. „It will also aid a strong product portfolio; facilitate an extensive distribution network across the country, team enhancement, superior market intelligence and access to Global best practices and technology, Puri reveals.

Commenting on the advantage of the acquisition, he adds that now the company will be able to integrate, improve the quality and consistency of products like white and black Masterbatches, woven sack packaging and many other such complimentary products into ClariantĘs product portfolio. Puri further reveals that the acquisition of Plastichemix, which has been renowned for its quality, will further boost ClariantĘs image in the Indian market. This natural synergy will enable Clariant to offer its customers an extensive product portfolio with consistent quality across all market segments.

Growth of Masterbatches
Puri is of opinion that the packaging segment along with consumer goods will Clariant in India is focusing on organic and inorganic growth by repositioning its product portfolio, in line with its global corporate strategy and with an increased focus on emerging markets in India, China, Middle-East, ASEAN and Latin America, says Sandeep Puri, LBL Head India - Masterbatches, Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited. be one of the key drivers for the growth of masterbatches business. However, he adds, textile as well as automotive segments are not far behind in terms of contributing to high growth rates. He notes that plastic industry market dynamics vary considerably from the mature markets, for example Europe, to emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. He believes that need of a mature market is different from the need of an emerging market. According to him, „In the mature markets customers increasingly ask for high performing formulations for technologically and environmentally demanding applications. At the same time, they are looking to standardize operation across the region. In emerging markets growth is the main driver. Whereas, in emerging countries, the customers need flexible and reliable supply solutions combined with regional presence.

He emphasises that in the emerging markets, greater speed and flexibility is required to maximise growth and gain substantial market share. Localised manufacturing to offer tailor made solutions at ClariantĘs Technical Service Labs would be one of the key drivers for the growth of companyĘs business in the country.

Biodegradable Masterbatches
Puri reveals to CEW how Clariant Masterbatches is making it easier for customers to use more recycled material - both post-industrial and Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) resins. „Masterbatches specially formulated for PCR resins are able to overcome the grayish cast of recycled polyolefin plastic. Interest in biopolymers - plastics made from corn, sugar, starch and other natural raw materials - continues to grow and Clariant has played an important role in the development of color and additive options for these materials,‰ he shares.

Puri talks about RENOL-nature masterbatches and explains that it combine all-natural colorants with biopolymer carrier systems to provide a 100 per cent renewable and completely biodegradable solution. Colors include red, orange yellow and green. CESAnatur masterbatches - including slip or antiblock agents, UV/light stabilizers, antioxidants and antistatic agents - also feature naturally occurring substances. More recently, Clariant introduced „OKcompost‰ certified masterbatches for biopolymer products and packaging. According to Puri, Clariant has been taking a proactive role in bringing environmental responsibility to the market for colorants, special effects and additives. „Instead of offering a single eco-friendly product or product line we approach our customers with a range of products and services that can help them reach sustainability objectives, he adds.

New Paradigms
When asked how other innovations such as development of anti-microbial masterbatches, flame retardant masterbatches, and antioxidant masterbatches in Industry are shaping up - in India and globally, Puri replies that globally these products are already established.

Puri elucidates that flame retardant masterbatches are driven by stringent regulatory culture of typical European and American Markets. In India, the market is starting to understand the regulatory concepts and in future a strong regulatory framework will definitely boost the consumption of these types of masterbatches. Flame retardant additives can make plastics safer by making them more difficult to ignite and by controlling their burning behaviour. Widely used in transportation, construction, appliance and electronics applications, CESA-flam additive masterbatches help manufacturers meet UL and other regulatory requirements by minimizing flame propagation, smoke and heat generation.

And these developments are progressing within the organisation. Puri shares insight into the ÂHYDROCEROLĘ chemical foaming agents that provides its customers the benefits of weight reduction, raw material savings and increased wall stiffness. Warpage and sink marks are minimised as well. HYDROCEROL CFAs have been used successfully across the industry, in packaging and consumer goods, as well as specialty applications like automotive, to reduce product weight and resin consumption. The family of HYDROCEROL chemical foaming and nucleating agents is a key component of ClariantĘs comprehensive product line.

Further, Puri informs that antimicrobial masterbatches are purely driven by the maturity and awareness of the population in specific markets. In Indian market there are some existing applications for the antimicrobial masterbatches. He also talks about ÂCESAĘ additive masterbatches from Clariant that offer opportunities to improve the performance of plastic products. While highlighting its characteristics, Puri stats that these products can prevent degradation due to heat and shear during processing as well as UV light and oxidation in the end-use environment. They can limit flammability to comply with key regulations and can reduce product weight and resin consumption, prevent the build-up of static electricity, or make plastic surfaces easier to print or laser etch. Available in pellet, granule or liquid form, as single-function masterbatches or custom-made combibatches, CESA additive masterbatches are also easy to handle and easy to store.

CESA-anti micro masterbatches include antimicrobial additives, which can extend antimicrobial options for plastic products. Typical applications for antimicrobial masterbatches include fibers and textiles used in athletic gear and household furnishings, kitchenware and bathroom products, automotive steering wheels and interior parts, and a broad range of other plastic applications requiring a high standard of hygiene. Clariant has a long-established collaboration with Sanitized AG, a Swiss company offering antimicrobial additives. Light radiation and oxygen in the air trigger decomposition processes in plastics, causing discoloration, embrittlement and eventual degradation of mechanical properties. CESA-light stabilizers when used for agricultural films, construction materials, lawn and garden equipment and many other products used outdoors or under fluorescent light and filtered daylight indoors, e.g. in visible areas where discoloration over time is not desired.

Puri feels that there can be genuine demands for these products in segments like Automotive and Textiles in local Indian market. These products are already available in our existing portfolio and special needs will be addressed by project approaches. „I can confidently state that ClariantĘs Masterbatches is a world leader in color and additive concentrates, and technical compounds for the plastics industry are fully geared to meet the growing demands and needs of our customer in India. The combination of a global presence and strong local partnerships makes Clariant a preferred supplier for the sector. The business operates more than 50 full-service manufacturing facilities worldwide with a complete technical service offering for all products and applications, he concludes.

The business is also supported by a dedicated network of 'ColorWorks' design centers to help customers reduce product development times and differentiate brands. These centers provide brand managers, designers, and marketing personnel with global color management services and design tools.

- Harshal Y Desai