Azelis Americas strengthens its specialty platform

Azelis’ acquisition of KODA has enhanced its position as a leading global specialty chemicals distributor. Azelis Americas,
with a focus on North and South America, continues to invest in technical capabilities and foster closer collaboration
with principals and customers to meet the needs of the evolving specialty chemical distribution market. Azelis Americas is a leader in specialty chemicals distribution with a focus on coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE); construction, personal and household care; pharma, specialty ag, lubricants; inks; and plastics. “The KODA name has been replaced and we’ve rebranded ourselves as Azelis Americas,” says Azelis Americas President and CEO Frank Bergonzi. “We have maintained our regional identities, particularly in the CASE and personal care markets, where our brand equity is valuable. As part of the Azelis Group, we are now truly one of the leading specialty distributors in the world,” Bergonzi says. Azelis Americas will continue to adapt to the evolving specialty chemical distribution market landscape. “We remain highly focused on leveraging deep technical expertise and market knowledge, working in strong collaboration with principals, a strong network of technical labs to support innovation, and commitment to customer service,” Bergonzi says. “We have highly focused companies with a strong history of technical selling capabilities across all of our market segments. A high percentage of our team has technical degrees and across the sales organization we average more than twenty years industry experience.”

Technical capabilities

Organic growth and principal synergies are both high strategic priorities for Azelis Americas. “Azelis had no US footprint. They had a pharma presence in Canada,” Bergonzi says. “Yet, we have very similar cultures and approach to the business. There is a common focus on specialties and a commitment to technical expertise and deep market knowledge supported by application labs. We have a very similar approach to principals and how we represent them in the market. Opportunities remain strong, as the market for specialty chemical distribution should continue to grow faster than the overall chemical market. “Principals will continue to look very closely at customer segmentation,” Bergonzi says. “Principals will outsource smaller, non-strategic
customers. And in specialties, especially, exclusivity and full transparency is the name of the game,” Bergonzi says.

Frank Bergonzi, Azelis Americas, CEO and President > 

“Principals want to have that exclusive, transparent relationship with their partner. There are a lot of instances where these smaller customers are the true innovators and set new trends.” Azelis will continue to collaborate closely with principals and customers. “We communicate often with our principals regarding application usage,” Bergonzi says. “We provide valuable information about specific applications and how customers are utilizing the product. We provide deep insight into these small customers that they didn’t have previously. It helps guide their marketing strategies.”

Customers also benefit from direct relationships with technical experts and access to leading-edge labs. “Our application labs are used by these smaller customers because they do not have access to principals’ labs,” Bergonzi says. “We have deep technical and regulatory capabilities. It’s a big driver, particularly in segments such as care and pharma. Principals want their channel partner to be efficient and self- sufficient.” Azelis Americas recently consolidated the EW Kaufmann entity into the GMZ brand. “We are excited about the recent GMZ authorization by BASF of their dispersions, resins and additives portfolio to the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Northeast geography,” Bergonzi says. The company will also continue to look at M&A in its targeted market to enhance its regional presence. “We’re looking to establish a presence in South America,” Bergonzi says. “Azelis Americas today is in North America, but we are looking at South America as well.”

Cultivating long-term partnerships

Principals and customers can be confident in Azelis’ world-class sales and technical capabilities. “We have a finite number of principals. We don’t serve thousands of suppliers. We can focus and truly partner with our core principals,” Bergonzi says. “What principals want, and what we aim to deliver (and succeed at), is a high degree of technical selling capability that is focused on innovation and new products.” Being part of Azelis provides stability, Bergonzi adds. “I think it’s important that our customers and our principals understand that we are here to stay for the long term. We’ve got the financial backing and
our strategy is to continue our strong specialties focus. The Azelis acquisition of KODA has given us a true global presence to grow. “We are demonstrating to customers and principals that we are going to be here for the long term, are self-sufficient with strong technical capabilities, and also are financially stable.”

Article published in November 14 edition of IHS Chemical Week Magazine. Click here to read the article in full.