Clariant Corporation is clearly into the chemicals business. As the North American subsidiary of Swiss specialty chemicals maker Clariant AG, Clariant Corp. oversees operations in Canada and the US and has about 25 manufacturing facilities and service centers throughout North America. Its operations include eight business units: additives; detergents and intermediates; industrial and consumer specialties; masterbatches (color and additive concentrates); oil and mining services; paper specialties; pigments and additives; and textile chemicals. It accounted for about 13% of its parent's total sales in 2011. Customers include the agriculture, automotive, plastics, pharmaceutical, printing, and textile industries.
Clariant Corp.'s operations represent eight of the parent company's 10 global business units. Its additives business distributes both additives and pigments. Additives are used in several plastic and paint products to help resist heat, light, and weather elements. The unit provides flame retardants, waxes, and polymer additives for use in plastics, coatings, and other applications.
Detergents and intermediates are used as raw materials to produce detergents, household cleaners, and chemical intermediates. Industrial and consumer specialties provide chemicals for consumer care and industrial markets. The company's Mount Holly plant west of Charlotte, North Carolina, manufactures chemicals for both business units.
Clariant's masterbatches unit produces dye and additive concentrates and composites for the plastics industry. Masterbatches facilities in North America make products for use in a wide range of markets, including automotive, packaging for the personal care and cosmetic industries, and electrical connectors. It is one of the few companies in the US that offers master plaques, or plastic sheets made in precise colors, for major auto manufacturers.
Its oil and mining services unit provides chemicals and services for the oil, refinery, and mining markets. Products include scale and corrosion inhibitors and demulsifiers.
The paper specialties unit offers products used to provide brightness, color, coating, and thickness of paper. The company's plant in Martin, South Carolina, is one of the largest North American producers of optical brightening agents (OBAs).
Clariant Corp. also distributes pigments, including organic pigments, preparations, and dyes, which are used for coatings, printings, plastics, and other applications. Its products are used by the automotive and electronic industries, for inkjet and laser printing, and specialized applications such as cosmetics and artist supplies.
Textile chemicals include specialty chemicals used to pretreat, dye, print, and finish textiles. These chemicals are also produced at the Martin, South Carolina, plant.
In 2011 the parent company expanded its North American operations in the de-icing market by acquiring New York-based Octagon Process. Clariant, already a leading supplier of de-icers for aircraft and runways in Europe, added Octagon for its infrastructure and logistics network. The company will supply aircraft de-icing and anti-icing fluids to the North American market. It also will supply Clariant's de-icing products for runways.
As part of Clariant AG's growth strategy for North America, it acquired Canadian oil services company Prairie Petro-Chem in 2011. The addition enhanced Clariant's presence in the Bakken Shale, which is one of the largest oil and gas producing regions in North America. Prairie Petro-Chem serves more than 7,000 oilfield sites. The Canadian company will be part of the oil and mining services unit.
Clariant Corp.'s sales in fiscal 2011 reached 958 million Swiss francs (about $1 billion), or about 13% of its parent company's total sales. The North American unit reported a 27% percent growth over the previous year (860 million Swiss francs, or about $900 million in 2010). Sales reported in the US alone for 2011 were 848 million Swiss francs ($887 million). Its masterbatches unit generated healthy sales growth in local currencies, and its oil and mining services unit's sales was strong as well, following the acquisition of Prairie Petro-Chem and a rebound in oil and gas development in North America. North American additives also reported strong growth in 2011.
Parent Clariant AG's strategy for growth will focus on broader expansion into the emerging markets of Brazil, China, and India. However, the company intends to improve its profitability and all of its business units. It plans to increase investments in technology and make targeted acquisitions to strengthen its existing product pipeline. – less