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Personal care set to contribute to Azelis’ Asia Pacific business

Laurent Nataf, CEO and President Asia Pacific, Azelis

Azelis, a leading global speciality chemicals distributor, is aiming at raising the share of its Asia Pacific business in the group’s total turnover from the present 6% to 20% by 2020. And the personal care business is expected to account for 20% of Azelis business in Asia Pacific. This was revealed by Mr. Laurent Nataf, Chief Executive Officer & President Asia Pacific, Azelis Singapore Pte Ltd during an exclusive interaction with this magazine.

"In the past, our focus had been very much in Europe and later on in the Americas. However, last year our Board decided to make strong efforts to develop presence in Asia Pacific," he pointed out. A key decision was to appoint Mr. Nataf as the CEO for the region and relocate him to Singapore. "Since then we have been working on strengthening our team in Asia Pacific, including India, which is a key market for us," he added. As part of its focus on the region, the company made its debut appearance as an exhibitor at In-cosmetics Asia.

Azelis provides a diverse range of products and innovative services to more than 35,000 customers. "Our in-depth local knowledge is supported by an international structure and value-added services including high levels of technical support and tailored solutions," said Mr. Nataf.

ASIA PACIFIC STRATEGY

According to Mr. Nataf, the company is still relatively young in the Asia Pacific market and its offerings revolve around three core values of focus, commitment and compliance.

"For our suppliers, we are able to provide a lot of attention to their range and grow it efficiently. We can present their product range to customers at a much faster pace as compared to a well-established distributor. As for our commitment to the region, Asia Pacific is critical in the growth strategy of Azelis. We are prepared to grow the top line to gain new customers, new suppliers and make Azelis a known player. As far as compliance is concerned, we have recognised that it is an important issue in Asia Pacific. Azelis is very keen on compliance – we have anti-bribery codes; our employees sign a code of conduct and we are financially stable. So, all this brings security to our suppliers; they know that with us they are in safe hands," observed Mr. Nataf.

Personal care is among the four segments identified as critical growth drivers in Asia Pacific by Azelis, besides agrochemicals, food and coatings & construction.

"Personal care is a distribution business – there are lot of niche, innovative products that you can bring to the market besides a large number of customers in each of the countries. In addition to the MNCs, there are a lot of innovative players in Asia who are looking for good distributors with the ability to provide technical support to

them. So, we are aiming at personal care to contribute 20% of our business in Asia Pacific," revealed Mr. Nataf.

INDUSTRY TRENDS

Quizzed on the trends in the personal care sector, Mr. Nataf highlighted the demand for whitening effect as being a strong driver in Asia Pacific – much more than elsewhere in the world. "The demand for natural products is common for the entire global markets," he added.

Speaking about the trends in the Indian market, Ms. Aparna Khurana, Managing Director, Azelis India, said, "We see claims pertaining to anti-pollution and also for combined claims like whitening and anti-ageing or moisturising. Formulators try to combine different effects into a single product given the need for ensuring economic feasibility. In such a scenario, formulation capabilities become very critical as different actives are sourced from different suppliers; only an expert can formulate in a such a way that you can provide those multiple benefits in a single product."

Realising this need for technical support, Azelis has set up a formulation lab in India. "Here we can demonstrate to our customers the role of the ingredients and the value they bring to the formulations," Mr. Nataf added.

"In the price conscious Indian market, it is more about value selling rather than really talking about prices. We demonstrate the value that we can add into our customers product, which will help differentiate that product in the market place," said Ms. Khurana.

"Customers want a global portfolio but they need local support. As MNCs begin to have complex structures, distribution companies are able to provide the flexibility that the customer requires. In India, the consumer and customer needs are very specific. As a good channel partner, we are able to cater to those specific needs," she added.

"Our ambition in India matches our ambition in Asia Pacific. We have a new Managing Director in India since a year as well a team with higher profile and more resources to make the most of the positive trend that we see in India for home and personal care industries," concluded Mr. Nataf.

Article published in the December issues of Chemical Weekly and HPIC India.

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