Discover Value by focusing on growth markets

The year 2015 has once again convincingly confirmed the importance of a balanced global positioning and the focus on growth areas for companies such as Clariant. In this way, the company was able to compensate for the cyclical decline in China with attractive businesses in the rest of Asia and with strong sales growth in North and Latin America. The latter was achieved despite Brazil’s economy generally experiencing a deep recession, while Clariant was able to add 9% sales in local currency in Brazil. The proper allocation of the investments to particularly high-growth areas and growth regions worldwide that promise the greatest sales potential has paid off.

Sales by region 2015 in CHF m

Total 2015: 5807

Growth in World Specialty Chemicals Markets by Region

in USD b until 2018

Ken Golder Head of North America Region


Mr. Golder, since 2011, North America has shown an impressive average growth of 4%. What is the secret behind this success?

Well, there certainly is no secret. Our success is based on improving economic fundamentals and well-aligned execution. As the largest specialty chemicals market in the world, we benefit from favorable pricing and good availability of energy and feedstocks. The chemical industry in general is being revitalized as a consequence of the energy sector expansion, and through our Business Unit Oil and Mining Services (BU OMS) we are actively participating in this growth. The US gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.4% is among the highest of the mature economies. Economic indicators and forecasts confirm that this positive trend will continue and Clariant is well positioned to benefit from this.

Can you specify in which businesses Clariant is expecting the highest growth potentials?

All our Business Units have actionable plans to grow above GDP. We expect the greatest growth in our Oil Services activities that continue to expand their footprint across our region. Our Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS) and Catalysts businesses also are well positioned to participate in changing mega trends and the expansion of our region’s petro-chemical sector. In all these BUs, we have critical size and are among the market leaders with the innovation potential. Our product pipeline is well positioned for future growth.

Can you give some examples?

Through our commitment to sustainability we are meeting customers’ demands with innovative responses to market megatrends. The Clariant EcoTain® products, e.g. for our personal and home care businesses, are very well regarded. The need for more efficient production processes is the basis for h3 and sustainable growth for catalysts. Let’s be reminded that approximately 90% of all chemical products are manufactured with the help of catalysts. In North America, we see additional specific potential because we are well positioned to capture the opportunities driven by new shale gas projects as Clariant offers the most extensive portfolio among our major peers.

Doesn’t it require significant investments to keep up with the dynamics of the markets?

This is correct and these investments are overdue to some extent. We are doing a tremendous job at attracting capital and human resources to our region. We invest heavily in catalysis research and development with an expenditure of more than 7% of our sales. Our new polypropylene catalyst plant in Louisville for example is one of Clariant’s largest investment projects ever. We recently completed a Houdry catalysts expansion, and currently in ICS we are expanding our ethylene oxide (EO)derivatives capacity. These investments are poised for substantial return. A positive side effect is that Clariant’s reputation as an attractive employer is also improving. We hired more than 300 people in 2014 and 2015, with a clear focus on market-facing and innovation positions.

You mentioned impressive growth rates in your Oil Services activities. Will this dynamic continue into the future?

It certainly should, based on the economic fundamentals. The global oilfield chemicals market is expected to grow from USD 10 billion to USD 12 billion by 2020, more than 50% of this market is located in North America. We expect to gain a substantial slice of this pie and grow disproportionately, for example by putting an innovation focus on the deepwater and hydraulic fracturing activities. To support this growth, we have expanded OMS headquarters and R&D activities in The Woodlands, Texas. Our Oil Services business in North America is represented with 19 local facilities and 11 Technical Centers.

To summarize this, what are your targets for the future?

In 2015, our activities in the North America region contributed more than USD 1.1 billion sales. This represents roughly 18% of Group sales, compared to just 16% last year. This share will grow steadily. Our strategic plan shows substantial growth potential. North America represents 23% of the global specialty chemicals market. This representation of North America within Clariant is our mid-term goal. We have the quality people, plans and resources to get this done!

Perfectly positioned for growth opportunities in North America

The North American market for specialty chemicals is not only the largest in the world estimated at USD 140 billion, it also has growth potential that is well above average. Accordingly, Clariant has expanded significantly in this region. As a result, sales here have improved from USD 939 million in 2011 to USD 1 120 million in 2015. This corresponds to average annual growth of more than 4%. 1 800 employees work at 41 locations. Thanks to their work, the largest areas of activity have been able to increase significantly since 2011, including Oil Services (by 14% annually) and Industrial & Consumer Specialties (by 8% annually) as well as Catalysts (by 5% annually). To maintain this momentum and generate the desired target of USD 1.6 billion in 2020, Clariant recently invested heavily in North America, especially in the two biggest growth areas – Oil & Mining Services and Catalysts. In total, this equates to recent investments of more than USD 170 million, as well as to a significant expansion of its workforce by more than 130 in the last two years.

Key facts North America





Sales growth through 2020

in USD m