Major Russian compounder R&P Polyplastic Ltd. is at K 2019 to learn, exchange ideas and above all to showcase its "top-quality" materials to the European market and the world.
With 86,000 metric tons of annual compounding capacity, the company claims to be one of the biggest compounders in Russia, which has a total market of 300,000 tonnes a year.
The company has set its sight on the bigger European market, having signed distribution deals with the likes of German distributor Polytrade over the past two years.
In 2018, the company exported 1,000 tonnes of its technical compounds to Europe, mainly Germany and Italy, and expects the figure to rise to 5,000 tonnes in the near future, according to Mikhail Katsevman, director product and market development.
"And if we push that figure up to 6,000 tonnes a year, we will start thinking about setting up a compounding plant in Europe," said Katsevman, who is also the president of the Russian Plastic processors union.
The Moscow-based company currently has two production units in in Togliatti, in Russia's Samara region; and Engels, Saratov region, near the Volga River in Russia.
Europe, according to Katsevman, has a market of approximately 5 million tonnes a year, less than half of which is covered by independent compounders.
"We want to be a global company and Europe plays an important role here, as it is a big market and also a center of knowledge and technology," he added.
But to find a way into the European market, R&P Polyplastic needs to work on the image of Russian quality, which seemingly is tarnished among European customers.
"To be honest, when we come to Europe and offer our materials — and we know that the materials are of good quality with a good price — there is a certain level of prejudgment," Katsevman said.
Katsevman has a good reason to think that he can dispel this stereotype. R&P Polyplastic now supplies a significant amount of compounds to international automotive and appliance OEMs in Russia.
"A good example of that is LG. As a group, LG has its own polymer production and has compounding capacity in China. But in Russia, they have switched to using mostly our materials. This means that our products are economic and also meet their standards," Katsevman added.
At home, R&P Polyplastics is enjoying the wave of "localization" measures by the industry.
"Last year, the Russian automotive industry was down 4-5 percent, but our sales to the segment improved slightly, thanks to the move towards to using local materials," Katsevman said.