"The growth of the automotive, aerospace, and electronics markets has ultimately helped our business, allowing us to provide added value in more areas."

Eduardo Cortés

LATIN AMERICA GENERAL MANAGER & AMERICAS POLE LEADER SPECIALTY FLUIDS, MOMENTIVE

March 27, 2024

Can you update us on your recent operations?

Momentive is a premier global advanced materials company with a cutting-edge focus on silicone and specialty products. We have a global footprint that includes more than 40 locations in more than 20 countries. Mexico is a uniquely centralized location for our advanced silicones and specialty business, with a notable market share. Momentive has elevated its presence in Latin America and it is an essential location for us. 

Our global presence expanded after we were acquired by KCC Corporation, a Korean-based conglomerate. Joining KCC has allowed for increased synergies within the personal care, construction, and industrial segments. Our strategy has been to move from commodities to specialties where we can offer value to the market. We have participated in practically all the core sectors in Mexico and, more specifically, the personal care and agriculture segments continue to be among the largest businesses in this region.

What markets are of interest?

One of Mexico’s most prolific markets has always been the automotive industry. For Momentive, it is one of our key segments. And we are envisioning ways to support the future with new electric and autonomous vehicles. 
Another crucial market for us is agriculture.  The exports have been growing tremendously even beyond crude oil exports. 

Lastly, we are very active in the personal care market; in particular, products like hair treatments, creams, deodorants, and cosmetics. Fifteen years ago in Mexico, the market was even more industrial, and our products were focused on industrial uses. Now, the market has expanded and is much more specialized including electronic and aerospace. The growth of the automotive, aerospace, and electronics markets has ultimately helped our business, allowing us to provide added value in more areas.

How can companies transition into the specialty chemicals space?

When a company like Momentive changes its strategy to focus on specialties, there is more to it than just launching a catalog of products. We have had to change the structure of the company, focusing on developing a team with specialized personnel, high skill levels, and market knowledge, which adds value in this industry.  Transforming a company in this way takes time and intention. There must be well-trained technical support, specialized commercial employees, and an understanding of the current and future needs of this innovative business including the ability to follow the Macrotrends.  

Here in Mexico, what I continue to do is attract specialized talent. It is not useful to have generalists. Instead, I focus on specialists in each area and a solid structure around them. Without a strong base structure, regardless of the quality of products, a company will not be able to add significant value.

What is your approach to R&D?

Momentive has research centers in several countries including Germany, Japan, India, and the United States. In those locations, we are working on modifying our innovation in ways that support our sustainability goals. For example, our team is promoting a new line in personal care, called Harmonie™ that is derived from natural ingredients. Also, we have products that align with microplastics regulations, and we continue to develop more biodegradable options. 

What are Momentive’s strategic priorities? 

In our region, we currently have four important pillars. The most significant is operational excellence. We want our plants to operate according to an elevated standard of safety and excellence. Our plant in Brazil uses purposefully designed best practices, and we are focused on continuing to use new technologies, such as automation, as a global benchmark for effectiveness and efficiency. 
Our second pillar is business transformation. Momentive has a solid presence in Mexico, and looking at the trends, it is the right time to continue investing in operations here. We see Mexico as a point of reference within the region, because of its proximity to the US. 
The third pillar is expanding regionally, within Brazil and Mexico and beyond. We are searching for opportunities for regional growth, cherry picking the markets and determining which segments make the most sense for investment. The last pillar is related to that commitment to expansion. We are carrying out a mapping process of the entire region, and making investments in personnel, creating opportunities for mergers and acquisitions in the region. 

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