The Business Year

José Luis Uriegas U.

General Director & CEO, Idesa

Sébastien Masson

Managing General, LANXESS

What growth have you seen in the industry? JOSÉ LUIS URIEGAS U. We started as a very small company in 1956. At that time, Mexico was trying to promote import […]

What growth have you seen in the industry?

JOSÉ LUIS URIEGAS U. We started as a very small company in 1956. At that time, Mexico was trying to promote import substitution in the industry. As we were importing a lot, the plants were quite small. After some time, we decided that we could do much more than just substituting imports, and so in the 1970s we began to develop larger plants with state-of-the-art technology. The idea was to begin exporting. This really took off in the 1980s and 1990s. Integration has always been a challenge. Some sectors, such as oil and gas, are in state hands, whereas the rest of the chain is in private sector hands. We have worked to find ways to integrate the chain. We also work extensively with Pemex, as it provides us with raw materials and basic petrochemicals that we then turn into different products.

SÉBASTIEN MASSON Our products end up in anything related to mobility, urbanization, food, and water. These are the four mega-trends in the world and these needs all exist in Mexico. There is a need to feed a large population, provide it with logistics and transport, and get water to every household and industry using it. LANXESS offers high-quality materials for the construction, coloring, plastic, food, packing, mining, and wood industries, among others. We also provide water treatment solutions. Fortunately, there is a significant amount of water in Mexico; however, where there are people there is no water, and where there is water there are no people. Also, there is a problem with safe drinking water and contamination, though we do provide solutions for this issue. In agriculture, we provide the raw materials for agro-chemicals. Biofuel could also be a possibility in Mexico’s future, and we can contribute greatly to that. Another market for us is cosmetics. We have expanded into various industries and we will continue to do so. We believe sustainability is good for business. We believe that to improve sustainability there is a need for chemical solutions. LANXESS is strong in developing sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and products for this purpose.

What will the benefits of Etileno XXI be moving forward?

JLU We won a government tender for a 20-year ethane contract. It is the first step to producing petrochemicals. The contract can also be extended to 35 years, so it is a very important element to justify what we are doing. We have completed the basic engineering works and have all the necessary technology. Between 80% and 90% of the site is prepared to receive the equipment and a plan was formulated in 2012 to have the project online by 2015. It is a total investment of around $4 billion. It is a massive part of our expansion plans. We will also try to develop our other divisions, particularly logistics. In my opinion, the logistics chain in Mexico is not as good as it could be, and we have the opportunity to develop the segment starting with the port facilities. We envisage the same company moving products inland and possibly to the door of the consumer. There are no companies that integrate the whole process currently.

Where do you focus your product supply for this market?

SM We have three basic segments of activity: the first is polymers, plastics, and synthetic rubber, which are all geared mainly to the automotive industry; the second is chemicals; and the third is specialty chemicals for all kind of applications, from leather to construction, coloring, water treatment, biocides, and others. In Mexico, our larger markets are in the automotive and construction sectors. The automotive industry is a key market as we are leaders in it, especially in synthetic rubbers, in which we are the worldwide leader. Synthetic rubber is used mainly for the production of tires, but also for other applications in automotive and other sectors. We are also leaders in supporting the tire industry in developing high-performance tires for the future of the automotive industry, tires that not only perform better than ever, but are also more environmentally friendly as they allow drivers to reduce fuel consumption.

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