The Business Year

Abraham Shabot

MEXICO - Industry

Chemically H3PO4

Vice President & Latin America General Director, Innophos

Bio

Abraham Shabot has a degree in chemical engineering from Iberoamericana University in Mexico City. He joined Innophos in July 2009. Prior to joining Innophos, in 2007-09 he served as Managing Director of Kaltex Fibers, the leading acrylic fiber producer in the Americas. Before that, he held various positions in Sales and Business Development for Comex, a large Mexican building supplies manufacturer and distributor. In addition, he was Latin American Director for Polyone Corporation, a large publicly held manufacturer and distributor of plastic resin and rubber compounds.

TBY talks to Abraham Shabot, Vice President & Latin America General Director of Innophos, on the multiple uses of phosphoric acid, Innophos' aggressive growth plans, and the multiple opportunities offered by the Mexican market.

What value added products are you producing now?

Innophos Mexico generates 30-40% of Innophos’ total revenue worldwide. As part of Innophos worldwide, the plant that we are in charge of in Coatzacoalcos is the third largest of its kind. We are integrated into extracting phosphoric acid from rock, whereas other plants buy the phosphoric acid and then create salts from it. We buy rock that has a high phosphoric content; we process it, purify the phosphoric acid and then sell the purified acid. Phosphoric salts have a myriad of uses. They are used for pharma, oral care, baking, seafood, meat and cheese. They are also used for ceramics, industrial applications, water purification, to develop wine, as a fire retardant and as water-soluble fertilizers.

Which industries are the most important for you in Mexico?

We are a large force in oral care, supplying products for toothpaste. We also supply products for bakeries and meat blends. Our sister corporation in the US has developed several proprietary formulations for specialized meat blends. Another expertise of ours is water-soluble fertilizers, where our market share is between 50-55% in Mexico. Aside from the domestic market, we export around 50% of our products across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

What opportunities do you identify in the market?

Innophos is an international 100% publicly owned company with stock floated on the NASDAQ. In the US, our focus is on food and pharma. In Mexico, we have seen an interesting innovation in the automotive industry where phosphoric acid is used for metal treatment. There are some petrochemical applications that also use phosphoric salts that might be an interesting longer-term opportunity for a company like ours. Our expectations are for the water-soluble fertilization market in Mexico to see continued growth. Agriculture is a traditional market in Mexico, due to our favorable climate and domestic food consumption and we hope to continue to supply the Mexican agricultural industry. Another opportunity lies in specialty mining, where there will be requirements for phosphoric acid to replace sulfuring acid.

What is the company’s strategy for Latin America?

Our strategy for Latin America is to become a highly competitive major player in the market, and to provide our clients with both long and short-term solutions. Customer service is a priority of our operations. We have a sales presence in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, most of Central America and three countries in the Caribbean. Our target is to be a solution provider and be a majority player in the sales of salts and phosphoric acid throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

What are your expectations for Innophos in Mexico for the year ahead?

We will pursue highly aggressive growth plans, and are also working to ensure that our plants are even more multi-purpose than today. We aim to grow in capacity and be able to supply our distribution brands in the US with finished goods, particularly salts and acids. And meanwhile, we expect to increase our market-share across Latin America through acquisitions. However, the Mexican market remains a priority of ours.

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