"These are times to stick close together as partners, be it our distributors, our customers, or suppliers."

Vinod Agnihotri

MANAGING DIRECTOR, ASEAN & VP AND HEAD OF MPP APAC, LANXESS

June 07, 2024

Could you remind our readers of Lanxess’ presence in Southeast Asia? How has this presence changed with the integration of the microbial control business of IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances)?

Singapore serves as a regional headquarters and is part of a broader network of capabilities which includes: one legal entity in Singapore, two in Thailand, two in Malaysia, one in Vietnam, and one in Indonesia, complemented by two representative offices in Vietnam and Indonesia, respectively. 

Since the acquisition of the IFF microbial control business in 2022, we have been consolidating our presence in the region. On the production front, we retain a production site for material protection products business unit in Singapore, expanding and introducing new products as part of newly created synergies with the IFF business; these include specialty chemicals for the care and industrial preservation markets, all integrated into our existing site. Furthermore, our technical center in Singapore has also been enriched with the acquisition, merging additional capabilities and knowledge.

What is the 2024 outlook for Lanxess’ core business units, particularly for the Southeast Asian region?

Southeast Asia has become a critical region for our consumer protection business. Meanwhile, our lubricant additive portfolio is also high-value and less cyclical, with a broad base of uses, including the aviation industry or other heavy metal industries, whereas rubber additives find usage in tires for the automotive sector, as well as the shoe industry and other niche applications. 

Could you give some examples of how your consumer portfolio adapts to the trend for more natural products?

For the rest of 2024, we continue to leverage our setup in Southeast Asia to offer a comprehensive product basket, following those growth segments, especially in personal care, home care, preservatives, and anti-microbial, as well as aroma chemicals from our flavors and fragrances portfolio. We are presenting an extensive portfolio for the cosmetics industry, for instance, including multifunctional ingredients for different pH ranges and end-product requirements in lotions, soaps, shampoos, and so on. We are also focused on formulating more sustainable solutions for innovative personal care products, tailored to a broad pH spectrum and with a lower content of conventional chemistries. Biodegradable alternatives for the preservative, fragrance, and flavor markets are also a big part of our focus. 

Could you brief our readers on Lanxess’ sustainability targets and its recent progress towards these targets?

Back in 2019, Lanxess committed to carbon neutrality by 2040 for our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions; since then, we have extended our goal to include Scope 3 emissions with a deadline set for 2050, aligning with the Paris Agreement. This entails a full, cradle-to-gate approach. Lanxess has been consecutively ranked at the top of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, coming first in Europe and third globally in the last ranking. Many of our sites are ISCC Plus Standard, an international certification for circularity. Lanxess is also on the “A List’ of the Carbon Disclosure Project for the seventh time. 

Besides these external validations, Lanxess has developed an internal label called “Scopeblue” to identify products that rely on sustainable raw materials (either recycled or bio-based) by at least 50% or provide a minimum of 50% carbon footprint reduction when compared to traditional products. Products that wear this label include our NEOLONE BioG Preservative and Purox S Scopeblue. 

High product stocks have been slow to be absorbed due to low demand. How are things looking in 2024?

Global demand has not yet returned to normal levels and 2024 will therefore remain a challenging year for the chemical industry. However, we see a slight upturn in the first quarter this year. The positive trend is expected to continue in the second quarter, leading to a slight increase in demand for the rest of the year. 

Do you have a final message for our international audience? 

These are times to stick close together as partners, be it our distributors, our customers, or suppliers. Historically, the chemical industry has been going through multiple cycles, some of great intensity, and we must hang on because soon enough, the markets should be back in full throttle. 

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