Sabic's Keith Smith brings big expectations to NPE2012

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 1, 2012 6:00 am ET

Smith

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, Sustainability, NPE 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 1, 8:45 a.m. ET) — Keith Smith has been at his new job for less than six months, but he already likes what he sees at Sabic Innovative Plastics.

“This is an industry that I’ve been in for quite a while, and one that I absolutely love,” Smith said in a recent phone interview. “Over the years, I knew that Sabic and GE Plastics had a unique portfolio, and that was something I admired. I also admired their people, and the time I’ve been here has reinforced that.”

At NPE2012, Sabic (Booth 29000) is taking an aggressive approach to a show Smith described as “a huge opportunity.”

“NPE is the largest plastics show in North America, and as a committed leader in the industry, we’re going to show and show big,” he said of the exhibition in Orlando, Fla.

Smith may be new to Pittsfield, Mass.-based Sabic IP, but he’s no stranger to the world of plastics. Before becoming the firm’s executive vice president Dec. 1, he spent more than 30 years with plastics and chemicals leader DuPont Co., most recently serving as the firm’s vice president for sourcing and logistics.

While at Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont, Smith ran businesses that competed with Sabic in some areas, but he said there wasn’t a lot of overlap between DuPont’s crystalline materials and Sabic’s mostly amorphous ones.

“Sabic is clearly a company that’s committed to this industry in many different ways,” Smith said. “But the most important part is people, and that’s driving us to be the employer of choice.”

Sabic ranks as one of the world’s largest producers of polycarbonate, ABS and other engineering resins, such as its Ultem-brand polyetherimide and Noryl- brand polyphenylene oxide/poly­phenylene ether resins.

“We’re still looking to replace metals, glass and other plastics,” Smith said. “Analysts have said that PC and ABS can do 1½ times [gross domestic product] growth annually. There’s a continued value proposition for our materials for a number of reasons, including weight reduction.”

Recent growth for Sabic materials has come from the rebound of the auto sector, both in North America and around the world. Smith said North American auto builds could be up as much as 7 percent this year, creating “multiple substitution opportunities for our products.”

Electronics market growth also has helped Sabic recently, in products such as appliances and flat-screen TVs. But Smith pointed out that the electronics market is “a bit more volatile than some others, with higher highs and lower lows.”

The 1½ times GDP multiple works out to about 5 percent for both PC and ABS. Analysts have said those numbers will be lower in North America, but Smith added that Sabic’s expectations “are higher than that.”

A recently opened pilot plant in Mount Vernon, Ind., will allow Sabic to “tweak the backbone” of Ultem-type products, Smith said. The company had done previous work to explore PC.

Sabic also is opening a compounding plant in western China and recently signed a joint venture agreement with Chinese state-owned petrochemicals firm Sinopec to open a new PC plant there in 2015. Sabic also recently opened innovation centers in China and India and is adding to its product portfolio with materials like acrylic resin and carbon fiber.

“Our top priority is to continue to drive actionable commitments that people are going to see from Sabic in the industry,” Smith said. “We’re not just saying we’re committed — we’re showing it with actions.”


Comments

Sabic's Keith Smith brings big expectations to NPE2012

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: April 1, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

2014 leaves some resin firms in the black while others struggle

January 23, 2015 2:37 pm ET

On the financial side, 2014 was good for Hexcel Corp., so-so for Celanese Corp. and it could have been better for Omnova Solutions.    More

Image

Berry's rebranded Blue Clover expands packaging design reach

January 23, 2015 1:59 pm ET

As design director of Berry Plastics Corp.'s rebranded packaging design studio, Scott Fisher believes the new name of Blue Clover Studios cuts the...    More

Image

Clariant's ColorForward predicts future consumer trends

January 23, 2015 1:33 pm ET

Clariant International Ltd. is marking a decade of color forecasting with the 10th edition of its ColorForward program.    More

Image

The future for PolyOne is colorful

January 23, 2015 1:28 pm ET

PolyOne Corp. is writing four color stories for 2016.    More

Image

Mexico's Polymer Solutions looks to grow, expand offerings with name change

January 23, 2015 12:03 pm ET

British biodegradable additives developer Symphony Environmental Technologies plc's Mexico distributor has changed its name from Plásticos Degradables...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events