FRANKFURT, GERMANY — Executives at the German subsidiary of the Swiss chemical giant Clariant International Ltd. say that their firm sees "tremendous untapped potential" in India, which they describe as a market of the future for all kinds of plastics raw materials. "Compared to our markets in Europe and the United States, where we already are well-represented, the Indian plastics industry is posting above-average growth rates," said Rudolf Staab, the Frankfurt-based head of Clariant GmbH's additive business.
"We also discern an increasing trend in India toward high-value products. Consequently, we see India as a challenge and would like to increase our presence in that country," Staab said.
Clariant recently participated in the Plastindia 2000 show in New Delhi. Another unit, Clariant Masterbatches Division Americas, will exhibit at NPE 2000 (Booth E10165).
Currently, Clariant officials said their additives business is hardly represented in the Indian market. The company has two representatives in India. A majority-owned subsidiary, Mumbai-based Colour-Chem, represents Clariant's pigments and additives, fine chemicals, process and performance products, cellulose ethers and surfactants.
Clariant (India) Ltd., the other Indian subsidiary, represents process and performance products and masterbatches.
According to Staab, Clariant regards India as a focal point of its work in the coming years. Clariant will try, initially, to develop its business in India through imports; but, it would, at the same time, look around for collaboration partners and also invest in production facilities when "the time is ripe."
Staab predicted that there will be constant pressures on India's plastics industry to improve products. To survive the fierce competition unleashing in the global markets, India's plastic industry would have to be innovative.
"That means undertaking investments in new plants, using high-value raw materials and further improving the existing technologies," he said.
Fritz Brenzikofer, who heads the pigments business, endorsed the same view. "India is a huge country where the most advanced technology is still in use, along with the older and, for our standards, outdated equipment," he said.
Indian companies interested in upgrading their technology would have to rely on imports. Brenzikofer pointed out that the "high level of technical education available in India, the known entrepreneurial skills and the enormous potential of this market" would contribute to growth in India.
"Our management will certainly be interested in further investments and expansion, as soon as we are sure that the right conditions exist for this purpose," he added.
Clariant International is based in Muttenz, Switzerland.