At Chinaplas for the first time under its new name, Ascend Performance Materials LLC arrived with a renewed focus on its nylons, two new product lines, and a new vice president with extensive China experience.
Scott Rook joined the Houston-based firm a month ago as vice president of plastics, taking on responsibility for developing a global growth strategy. Before joining Ascend, Rook worked as the global business unit director for Eastman Chemical Co., where he spent several years in Shanghai.
Rook opened his speech at Ascend's Chinaplas news conference in Mandarin.
Although the name is new, the products are not, he said. We offer stable supply and efficient production, and global stimulus packages are helping drive demand for our products.
Prior to 2009, Ascend was a division of Solutia Inc. That's when the business was purchased by SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm focusing on the chemical industry.
The recent change in ownership has resulted in a renewed focus on the firm's core product, nylon 6/6, said President J. Timothy Strehl. We're focusing on meeting customer needs and on growth, he said. We intend to grow through capacity productivity and through investment.
While the financial crisis dampened growth for the company, Ascend benefited from its large capacity five plants in North America when the economy started recovering.
We were able to serve customers when there were shortages in other areas, Strehl said.
Ascend saw its quickest recovery after the crisis in Asia, with 75 percent of the company's Asia sales in China. Sales for the first quarter of 2010 are expected to be equal with the peak before the economic crisis and Ascend has its eye on further growth, particularly in the automotive industry.
At Chinaplas, the firm announced two new product portfolios added to its Vydyne line of nylon. The new impact-modified and glass-reinforced products are aimed, in part, at the auto market.
We have an extensive list of automotive approvals and it is continuing to grow, said Craig Yeager, global Vydyne product manager. Our customers were looking for better flow and stability.
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