Pigment manufacturer Sudarshan is expanding its capacities and product portfolio. We spoke to Milan Krumbe, General Manager Europe, about the company’s plans and the pigment market.
Sudarshan conducts a business transformation. What is the background?
Milan Krumbe: Target of the transformation is a position among the top three pigment manufacturers. In order to achieve this, we are expanding production capacities significantly according to customer demand and are optimising the cost position and supply chain. Another element is the product portfolio expansion. We produce high performance pigments and specialties in our manufacturing locations in India. We are also strengthening our activities geographically with a targeted market penetration and a clear customer focus.
You are increasing capacities and expanding the product portfolio. Please describe the expansions.
Krumbe: In the last reporting period we grew on a high double-digit level in Europe. The capacity expansion of organic pigments is an important part to meet the customer demand. Ink customers for instance took advantage of these expansions. The expansion of high performance pigments lead to an increased position in the automotive coatings segment. The continued product portfolio expansion will contribute to a stronger purchasing position of our customers.
How do you evaluate the market for organic pigments in Europe?
Krumbe: There are different perspectives to evaluate the market for organic pigments. The growth rate is linked to the GDP at a level of 2-3% in Europe. We see higher growth rates for high performance pigments in comparison to classical organic pigments. The market requirements for pigments are given by the value chains. There are three leading core requirements for the coatings market. They comprise the compliance of environmental regulations, the contribution to energy and cost-efficient application processes and differentiation. In the inks market the strong growing segments as UV and digital inks are of high interest.
Describe your activities and where do you want to foster your activities
Krumbe: We continue consequently our strategy of market penetration and foster differentiation and innovation with a high degree of customer engagement. The region East Europe is a good example as we could successfully enter the Russian market in a short period of time and we will continue to increase our position in East Europe. We strengthened our sales team and technical team in order to provide a targeted approach to customer requirements.
Where do you see currently the challenges for the coatings industry regarding pigments supply chain?
Krumbe: The availability and cost control are currently the key challenge within the organic pigments supply chain. We see three drivers for the changing market environment. The impact of REACH and increasing regulatory requirements forced some manufacturers to withdraw products from the European market. Some basic key raw materials produced in China are limited in availability, which lead to significant price increases. Global political tensions and trade wars lead to uncertainty regarding potential increase of import duties. Customers are sourcing globally and key criteria as quality, efficiency and a transparent and sustainable supply chain are evaluated in the context of circular economy and the Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
As the market leader in India we are in a competitive position. We could fulfil all market requirements in Europe and we are looking forward to support our customers much stronger, so that the European market will benefit.
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