First PolyChem moves PVC, other resins into Mideast, N. Africa

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 6, 2013 1:07 pm ET
Updated: May 6, 2013 1:13 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Polyethylene, PVC, Materials Suppliers, Polypropylene, Africa

HOUSTON — Materials supplier First PolyChem LLC is helping meet the growing resin needs of North Africa and the Middle East through its relationships with resin makers around the world.

The agency company works with 15 materials makers worldwide, including eight based in the United States, to sell commodity resins — including polyethylene, PVC and polypropylene — as well as plasticizers, pigments, solvents and related materials to plastic processors in such countries as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

"We can fill in the gaps that other companies can't fill," managing director Brahim Benzakour said in a recent phone interview. Benzakour founded the firm in Houston in 2009 before returning to his native Morocco in 2011. First PolyChem now operates offices in Houston and in Temara, Morocco.

Benzakour had lived in the U.S. since 1996, first as a college student. A stint of more than three years in Houston with global materials distributor Vinmar International Ltd. helped him learn the ins and outs of the resin trade.

Benzakour took the plunge and started his own business in 2009. Some of his firm's main customers now are in Algeria — where resin demand is growing at a rate of more than 6 percent per year — and Morocco, where annual growth has been in the 3-5 percent range. Benzakour declined to identify his firm's suppliers, citing confidentiality agreements.

The firm's largest traded product by volume is PVC, more than half of which is sold into pipe extrusion. PVC is needed in markets with construction growth. PVC growth in Algeria, for example, has been on the rise because of infrastructure spending, Benzakour said. First PolyChem sold more than 5 million pounds of PVC in April alone.

Benzakour declined to provide overall sales data for the firm, but he said that it has been able to double its sales volume both financially and in pounds each year. Sales through April already had matched results for full-year 2012, he said.

Although it operates two sales offices, First PolyChem does not own its own warehouses, since it does not take physical possession of its resin shipments. The firm is compensated for its business by the materials firms that it represents.

Currently, First PolyChem has three employees, but Benzakour said increased business will lead him to add two more sales reps in Morocco by midyear. The firm also would like to add more grades of PE, such as blow molding offerings, to its product mix.

Recent announcements of new PE capacity planned for North America will be good for First PolyChem, Benzakour said, because of opportunities to sell into export markets.

North American PE "can easily compete with Saudi Arabia," he said. "I can't wait."

There's plenty of room for processing markets in North Africa and the Middle East to grow, according to Benzakour. "The technology aspect of the market is average, and companies don't tend to be as highly innovative," he said. "But most of the companies are friends with one another, and there are a lot of family businesses, so there's less bureaucracy."

And in spite of occasional political turmoil in First PolyChem's main target regions — such as recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt — Benzakour said there's never been a time when he hasn't been able to contact his customers. "We actually do more business in Tunisia now than we did before the revolution," he added.


Comments

First PolyChem moves PVC, other resins into Mideast, N. Africa

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 6, 2013 1:07 pm ET
Updated: May 6, 2013 1:13 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Polypropylene prices rise, while PE and PS fall

February 26, 2015 4:01 pm ET

North American prices for polyethylene and polystyrene resins continued to fall in February, while regional prices for polypropylene showed a...    More

Image

3i to sell specialty chemicals company Azelis to Apax Partners

February 26, 2015 11:36 am ET

Azelis Holding SA, the specialty chemicals distributor, is being sold by its private equity owners 3i Group plc to another private investment outfit, ...    More

Image

Medical compounder adding two extrusion lines

February 25, 2015 3:49 pm ET

Compounding Solutions LLC plans to add two new co-rotating twin-screw extruders this year to raise its capacity and provide more flexibility.    More

Image

Solvay building PEEK unit in Georgia

February 24, 2015 8:36 am ET

Solvay SA is building a polyether etherketone resin plant in Augusta, Ga. The unit will be the company's second PEEK plant — the Brussels,...    More

Image

DeFalco retiring after 17 years as Ampacet executive

February 20, 2015 2:36 pm ET

It’s a major understatement to say that Ampacet Corp. grew under the leadership of Robert DeFalco.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

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

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events