DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Gunther Hencken sees North America as a challenge and opportunity. His company, Hoechst High Chem, a maker of masterbatches for coloring thermoplastics and fibers, has sales of $40 million a year in North America.
Hencken, the firm's managing director, wants Hoechst High Chem to have sales of $250 million by 2000.
That market for thermoplastic colorants today is dominated by M.A. Hanna Co. of Cleveland, Hencken said, noting that Hanna has a 16 percent share of the entire North American market.
``The rest of the market is fragmented between a hundred other small companies with sales of $5 million a year,'' he said during an interview Oct. 6 at K'95 in Dusseldorf.
He said he hopes to purchase several of the best of those small companies and use their facilities along with facilities that his company may build to expand in North America.
Hencken said his plan is to have two, single-pigment concentrate production facilities and six or seven regional masterbatch production facilities to cover North America.
The Hoechst business unit, based in Lahnstein, Germany, has 22 operating units throughout the world, including one each in Mississauga, Ontario, and Coventry, R.I.; six in the Far East and Australia; one in Africa; one in South America; one in Turkey; and 11 in Europe.
Hencken's goal is to build a colorants business that can offer the same colors and formulations to global packaging producers, such as Procter & Gamble Co. of Cincinnati.
He said he is negotiating with several North American masterbatch producers, and hopes to close an acquisition by the end of this year.
When that is done, Hencken said, he also expects to invest in the companies so they will use twin-screw extruders to adapt Hoechst's processes for the production of masterbatches.