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MEXICO - Agriculture

Ramon Mariscal Leal

President, DUPONT LATIN AMERICA

Bio

Ramon Mariscal Leal is president of DuPont Latin America. In tandem, he is director of Latin America for DuPont’s water and protection business. He began his career at CEMEX as chief of sales for construction companies, and later joined DuPont in 2006. He has a degree in finance from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He holds a master’s degree in business administration with honors from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University in Louisiana. He recently completed the Senior Business Management Program at the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresas, in addition to having finished the Senior Management Program at Harvard Business School.

"Mainly electronics, but also there are other opportunities, for example, we have our business of water management."
As part of its ongoing transformational strategy, DuPont has divested parts of its business while simultaneously strengthening other areas where it sees greater growth opportunities in a more uncertain world.
What steps is DuPont taking to further transform itself considering its 220-year history?

During this time, we have gone through various transformations. What we are doing right now is completing the process. For a long period of time, DuPont was seen as a chemical company, but we are no longer that. We are today a premier multi-industrial enterprise. That is why the last step in that transformation is the divesting of a big portion of our mobility and material business and selling to Celanese Corporation. The transaction will give DuPont USD11 billion in cash to be invested in our future. We are also analyzing our next step, which will involve further acquisitions at the appropriate moment. Regarding the Laird acquisition deal, for one, we have already completed the integration of their performance materials unit to our electronic business and are in the process of completing the divestment of our M&M, which is a material business to Celanese. The largest piece of the material segment is engineering polymers and represents the 50% of our revenue in Mexico.

With what business segments will you be replacing the 50%?

Mainly electronics, but also there are other opportunities, for example, we have our business of water management. Currently, DuPont is the leading company in the world in terms of technologies for purified water. Today in North Mexico, for example, we are seeing a shortage of water, and indeed there is great potential for water purification in Mexico where water availability differs greatly by region. Our technologies are also put to great use in Africa for many communities. In terms of safety protection provided by our products, we are talking about medical, fire department, and the security services. For example, one of the most famous products used by the police is Kevlar. This is a product in strong demand in Mexico, not only for security market, but also automotive is a great opportunity for us. Mexico is the fifth-largest auto parts producer in the world. Each car produced in the US has at least one auto part made in Mexico and generally more than one. A full 70% of our business comes from auto.

What are going to be DuPont’s main priorities for the next year in Mexico?

First, we need to offset and manage the current situation of logistics and raw material availability. Despite higher costs incurred by companies, they are unable to fully reflect this to the customer Instead, you need to improve your productivity and optimize your cost management in order to maintain a good service level and high product quality. And meanwhile, firms are wondering what will happen if the world slides into recession. The key is to be prepared, continue to serve our partners and customers cost effectively, and increase our productivity, while also being prepared for any turbulence in the political and economic spheres, which could potentially happen. Ultimately, Mexico is firmly linked to the US economy, and anything that occurs there will be felt here as well. Meanwhile, while Europe recoils at an inflation level of 7%, it’s worth recalling that Mexico and other Latam countries deal with that level in a month and have been doing so for years. Therefore, we are resilient to such economic challenges. Our focus needs to remain on good management of our productivity and systematic assessment of potential opportunities in the market. Latin America is still an emerging market, and we will continue to register double-digit growth.

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