DSM says it remains fully committed to materials

By Robert Grace
Associate Publisher & Business Development Director

Published: April 25, 2014 12:05 pm ET
Updated: April 28, 2014 10:46 pm ET

Image By: Robert Grace Roelef Westerbeek

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Product News, China, CHINAPLAS
Companies & Associations DSM NV

SHANGHAI — Despite rampant speculation by financial analysts, the Netherlands-based Royal DSM chemicals group remains firmly committed to its materials business and it went to some lengths at Chinaplas to underscore that point.

Roelef Westerbeek, president of the group's Singapore-based DSM Engineering Plastics unit, said in an April 23 interview at the Shanghai exhibition that DSM's previous public statements about seeking a partner for its struggling caprolactam business were misinterpreted by analysts who suggested the company wanted to dump that business and focus on being purely a life-sciences company. He said that analysts suggested DSM split the group into two companies — life sciences and material sciences — and sell the latter to unlock further value for stockholders.

"We think the analysts are wrong," said the 24-year DSM veteran, who assumed leadership of the Engineering Materials group in 2008.

In fact, Westerbeek stressed, DSM wants to accelerate its growth in the materials sector, where its plastics portfolio includes a broad range of polyamides, plus polyesters, thermoplastic copolyesters and other high-performance materials. It aims to grow its materials business at a rate of two to three times that of GDP, he said, while also seeking partnerships in the high-performance plastics field. Its materials find use in a variety of end markets, including automotive, electrical and electronics, flexible food packaging, consumer goods, and building and construction.

He spoke candidly about DSM's challenges with its caprolactam business. The firm has 400,000 metric tons of capacity for that material in China — and the market now is saturated and highly volatile. DSM is the world's largest merchant supplier of caprolactam, which is not a desirable position at the moment.

The complicating factor is that caprolactam, when used internally, provides vital backward integration into the polyamide 6 chain. DSM values that function, and so does not wish to unload the caprolactam business. Rather, it is looking for a way to lessen its exposure to the merchant market, while remaining a key captive player for the material.

At the same time, Westerbeek said, his firm is looking for ways to grow its engineering materials business. To that end, he noted that DSM launched its seventh compounding line at its Jiangyin, China, complex in November. It also opened technical centers recently in both Nanjing, China, and in Yokohama, Japan, and intends to open a similar facility in Pune, India, in the foreseeable future.

DSM currently employs 3,400 in China, where it operates 25 manufacturing facilities and has 42 affiliates. With its DSM China regional headquarters in Shanghai, the group reported China sales of more than $1.7 billion in 2013. Globally, Royal DSM employs 24,500 and has annual net sales of about 10 billion euros ($13.8 billion).

At Chinaplas, the firm announced the launch of a new extrusion grade of its bio-based EcoPaXX polyamide 410 for the film, fiber and monofilament sectors. This follows, it said, successful adoption of an injection molding grade.

Its ExoPaXX 410 has been selected by Turin, Italy-based Dytech-Dynamic Fluid Technologies for the fuel vapor separators it produces for Ferrari and Maserati sports cars. Use of the halogen-free, flame-retardant ExoPaXX Q-KGS6 is said to increase the fire safety of the cars be combining flame retardancy with a high level of chemical resistance.

Additionally, DSM showcased some recent key applications for various polyamides. It noted that electronics companies are choosing its Stanyl polyamide 46 and Stanyl ForTii polyamide 4T grades for use in housings for the latest generation of synchronous dynamic random-access memory (SDRAM) connectors. These so-called DDR4 connectors — with data transfer rates up to twice those of current DDR3 versions — demand even more from thermoplastics in terms of thermal and mechanical performance.

Meantime, DSM said that China's WanJie Electronic is using Stanyl ForTii T11 in its surface-mount-technology (SMT)-soldered terminal blocks, which connect printed circuit boards to external devices. This is instead of the more traditionally used liquid crystal polymer.

The company also said its Stanyl 46 grade is being used for automotive chain tensioner slide shoes. Use of the material offers up to a 25 percent lower coefficient of friction and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by lowering fuel consumption by up to 1 percent.


Comments

DSM says it remains fully committed to materials

By Robert Grace
Associate Publisher & Business Development Director

Published: April 25, 2014 12:05 pm ET
Updated: April 28, 2014 10:46 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Minnesota receives grant to help develop new bioplastics

September 17, 2014 4:08 pm ET

The University of Minnesota has received a $20 million grant to fund the development of new types of bioplastics.    More

Image

China's Polymax Elastomer launches U.S. production in Illinois

September 17, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Chinese materials maker Polymax Elastomer Technology Co. Ltd. has opened a North American production site and headquarters in Waukegan, Ill.    More

Image

PolyOne helps nonprofit get water purification to more places in need

September 17, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Resin giant PolyOne Corp. is teaming up with WaterStep, a non-profit water purification agency, to help the group assist a greater number of disaster ...    More

Image

ACI expanding in South Carolina

September 17, 2014 12:56 pm ET

Reprocessor and recycler ACI Plastics Inc. is expanding in South Carolina.    More

Image

Symphony Environmental defends biodegradable plastics in recycling stream

September 17, 2014 11:47 am ET

Symphony Environmental Technologies plc, one of the world's largest oxo-biodegradable technology companies, has responded to a leading Mexican recycle...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

More Events