Latin America Reports

Arkema Makes Brazilian Market Entry

By Charles W. Thurston, Latin America Correspondent | August 15, 2012

Global expansion plans includes increasing presence in BRIC nations.

France’s Arkema recently purchased Brazil’s Resicryl Industria & Comercio, based in Araçariguama, in Sao Paulo state, providing the multinational’s Coatex unit with a market entry into the rapidly-growing country. Coatex will add an estimated $20 million in sales through the Brazilian acquisition, and likely also increase its paint and coatings sales in Argentina, where other industrial chemicals are produced. “This is a first major step that will allow Arkema and its subsidiary Coatex to draw on the strong growth of Brazil and Latin America without delay,” said Alain Mari, the chairman of Coatex, at the purchase announcement.

The company’s most recent annual report notes that its global expansion plans include a larger presence in the BRIC countries—Brazil, India and China—as well as in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Arkema is a global coatings company, which also produces a variety of specialty chemicals and chemical products. The company’s acrylics are widely used in solvent-free paints, and its coatings products represent 31 percent of global sales. After acquiring Seppic in 2011, Arkema added alkoxylates to its product portfolio, used in manufacturing rheology additives for paints.

Arkema has “expected strong growth in the mineral industry, paper, construction, water treatment, and paint and adhesives markets” in Brazil, and brings a strong portfolio of paints, coatings and other related products to the country. The company’s PVDF, a paint additive with broad functionality enhancement and increasing demand, is marketed under the Kynar brand.

Among polyacrylate dispersing agents, Coatex markets the Ecodis and Coadis brands, and among acrylic water-based paint thickeners, it markets the Rheotech, Thixol and Viscoatex brands. Coapur is the company’s polyurethane-based thickener brand.

Among other key products, Arkema’s polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) resins and sheets are marketed in Brazil and the rest of the Americas under the Plexiglas brand. Similarly, Arkema has been developing laminated photovoltaic back sheet films using polyethylene terepthalate (PET) between two layers of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), which protects the core PET layer from ultraviolet rays and water. Brazil is in the process of developing a domestic photovoltaic industry, with several PV panel production projects underway, on both research and industrial levels.

Kynar PVDF, used particularly in metal powder coatings, receives the lion’s share of Arkema’s research and development funding, with activities based at King of Prussia, PA, where the company also performs industrial paint R&D. Kynar Aquatec is an emulsion of Kynar PVDF copolymer with an acrylic resin, used in architectural applications. PVDF can add mechanical strength to paint and coatings, and offers chemical and UV protection, among other benefits. Energy efficient facade coatings are another architectural segment strength of the company.

Arkema’s Coating Resins unit is based in Cary, N.C., and provides a wide range of waterborne, solvent borne and powder resins along with additives for formulators of architectural coatings, industrial finishes, construction products, traffic paints, sealants, adhesives, inks, floor care and graphic arts products.

The company’s Argentine sales presence is led by Vetek S.A., based in Buenos Aires, which is held 60 percent by Arkema. Apart from paint and coatings sales, Vetek also operates a gas odorant blending and packaging facility.

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