India is part of the targeted growth strategy says Mr Ramchandran Country Head and MD Arkema India

Shweta Bhanot Mehrotra

27 Jan 2018

In an email-based interview with Shweta Bhanot Mehrotra, Mr. Suresh Ramachandran, Country Head and MD, Arkema India, talks about the Group's contribution to 'Make in India' initiative and its overall strategy for the country. Excerpts: 

Where does India stand in Arkema's overall global portfolio and what is the strategy for the county?
Over the past 10 years, Arkema Group has rebalanced its geographical positioning by significantly developing business in emerging countries, primarily in Asia. India is a part of this targeted growth strategy. The Group has been in India since 1992, when it was called Elf Atochem. Today, we have approximately 400 people across different entities in India.

This year in October, Bostik, the Specialty Adhesives business line of Arkema, inaugurated its new facility for hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives (HMPSA) in Gujarat. The facility would serve the fast growing demand for adhesives in the Indian industrial sector.

Moreover, in 2016, Arkema announced the construction of a new polyester powder resin manufacturing facility on the existing resin platform in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. The facility will be on stream in 2018. The investment in the facility amounts to approximately USD 15 million, which includes a new factory unit, and a dedicated new laboratory to provide both application development and technical support.

These projects are a small contribution by us to the 'Make in India' campaign that is being promoted in the country.

How many manufacturing plants does Arkema have in India?
Arkema has four production plants in India including,
- Cuddalore (near Chennai) for Organic Peroxides
- Navi Mumbai for Coating Resins
- Bangalore and Gujarat for Adhesives
Apart from this, we also have a marketing office in Mumbai, which facilitates the promotion of Arkema’s various other products that are manufactured outside India.

Which major industries do you cater to with your products in the country?
Arkema’s products find application in diverse industries in India today. This ranges from refineries, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, paints, automobiles, construction, to packaging, to name a few. The major markets that Arkema serves in India are coatings, industrial and construction. Arkema is a leading company and global supplier to the coating industry, along with automotive and architectural applications. The Group offers a large portfolio of products including, environmental-friendly, low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) coating resins such as powder resins, waterborne resins, UV photocure and high solid solutions as well as high performance coating additives. With two production facilities in India, Bostik manufactures a range of adhesives and related products for the industrial and construction sectors. The Group's industrial portfolio includes a range of advanced adhesives and sealants used in flexible lamination, footwear manufacturing, disposable hygiene, transportation and general assembly applications. The Group's offerings for the construction sector include construction sealants, waterproofing solutions, floor preparation products, adhesives & coatings, concrete repair compounds & admixtures, and tile adhesives & grouts.

How do you see the new polyester powder resin manufacturing facility at Navi Mumbai complementing the demand in India and your plans of it supporting other regions?
The investment on the existing resin platform in Navi Mumbai supports Arkema’s ambition to expand its geographical coverage for its environmentally friendly, low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) coating resins portfolio. The portfolio includes powder resins, waterborne resins, UV photocure and high solid solutions, as well as high performance coating additives. The new facility will produce polyester powder resins marketed under the REAFREE® trade name. The principal use for polyester powder coatings is in a wide range of industrial coatings, along with automotive and architectural applications. Arkema’s manufacturing site in Navi Mumbai also produces alkyd, acrylic solutions and oil-free polyester resins and reactive polyamide resins. This investment to upgrade capabilities at the production facility would provide our customers with all the benefits of cutting-edge technology, locally manufactured with strong technical support.  

What kind of impact are you witnessing due to introduction of GST?
Arkema has successfully implemented GST (Goods and Services Tax) across its units in India. We are confident that in middle to long term, GST will have a positive impact on the overall business. We anticipate that it would bring in a robust transparency to taxation and should help build a stronger business in the coming years.

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