Nelson Corda, General Manager, Consumer Specialties, Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Asia Pacific excluding China, explains the features of Ashland’s specialty chemicals, in discussion with Sachin Jagdale
How are specialty chemicals different from basic chemicals?
Like the name suggests, specialty chemicals are the chemicals that perform special functions. Unlike other basic chemicals they will have multiple applications. They will deliver only a special performance which is required in one particular field.
What are the growth drivers for your products in India?
When you look at any business what actually drives it, there are two things. You either go for a cost-effective solution or you go for a product which is not invented in the past. For the cost-effective solutions you will focus on existing business, cut the cost and generate your profits. But if you look at the Western world they work in a very progressive manner. They try to invent something which is better than the past. They even try to focus more on customer needs. You look at the products like Apple. The company comes up with new products after every six months. They aren’t really worried about what other companies are doing. Ashland works almost in the same manner. We try to come up with new molecules. Aquasolve is our new solid dispersion polymer. It provides better bio-availability of complex drugs which are very difficult to solubilise. Our polymers make impractical problems possible. That is why most of the times we are working on bio-availability and solubility enhancements.
How will you differentiate your products from your competitors?
We have realised that along with a product you also have to give a certain amount of service. We are not just selling our strong and innovative products but are also sharing with the customer our application knowledge and providing regulatory support. Without regulatory support you cannot file any ANDAs. This approach is very critical. We are a part of the pharma industry and if we compromise on quality then we are playing with people’s lives. We provide quality product and quality support and this is where we are much ahead in the competition. Big companies have a lot of good scientists and they can manage their formulations on their own but for the mid-sized companies, we provide a lot of formulation knowledge which helps them deliver quality product in the market. Not just our products but our processes are also of great quality. We do not use substandard raw materials, even the equipment that we use are of international standards. Packaging and testing standards are also of quality.
How are you contributing to Government of India’s Make in India campaign?
We are looking at investing in India. We have set up a lubricant plant in Ambernath near Mumbai, jointly with Rand Polymers. There are plans to expand our capacities. Last year, we opened a world-class Pharmaceutical Center of Excellence in Hyderabad. We are looking at India as a hub for servicing regional needs. We are happy with the changing business environment in India. As far as the pharma sector is concerned, almost all the pharma companies in India are our clients.
What percentage of your revenue comes from the Indian market?
All businesses put together, around five per cent of our revenue comes from the Indian market.
What are your growth plans in India?
We are growing organically and are coming up with new technologies. Depending upon the opportunities we may grow inorganically as well. We are making investments in India. When we will be confident that the business environment is totally conducive, we will grow here in a big way.