TBY talks to two executives manufacturing chemicals in Kazakhstan on the appeal of the market and the importance of specific products tailored for local end users.
For what reasons did your company enter the Kazakhstani market?
VEYSEL ARTUKARSLAN We established our company in 2002, and shortly thereafter we started operations in Kazakhstan. We introduced our products and began to sell them on the local market. Kazakhstan was the next step in Ecober’s expansion plans, because we saw huge potential in the sector in Central Asia. We also saw that companies from Turkey could sell products easily here. When I visited Kazakhstan, I saw that almost no one could find the products we offer in the country. Many people were using home-based products, unaware of their industrial counterparts, and we saw huge potential in the consumer segment. At first, we attempted to display and showcase our products to people who were unfamiliar with these types of goods. We found that we could only sell our products to large international hotels. However, every operator in the hotel sector now recognizes our products, and we can sell them easily.
NURLAN MAKHANOV We were founded in 1802 and began our operations in black powder production. At the beginning of the 19th century, the US economy was booming. In the early stages of its development, the company’s founders heavily discussed science, which has been the major driver of the business.
Early on, we worked to develop sustainable solutions that are healthier and safer for people. When we arrived in Kazakhstan, we felt that the market had matured and we sought to strengthen our position by moving closer to the local business environment and meeting rising demand. We value being close to our customers on a daily basis. DuPont began in the Soviet Union in 1974, as one of the 14 companies registered to provide service to the whole region, and operate from a base in Moscow. In 2006, the management made the decision to open an office in Almaty, in order to utilize the science we developed for customers in emerging markets like Kazakhstan. In 2008, we registered as a legal entity in Almaty. At the stage of becoming a legal entity, we felt closer to our customers.
Which of your products are used in the food-processing industry?
VA The majority of these food-processing plants use Ecober glue for packaging. In addition, if they have to clean plastics, they use our chemicals. They sterilize the packaging and the equipment, plus the surrounding area. Moreover, most plants have closed water systems, which require cleaning with our chemicals. Lastly, they use our chemicals to treat their wastewater in order to meet environmental standards. All of the companies operating plants—such as Danone, Efes, and PepsiCo—have to use chemicals to clean for sanitation purposes. If factories do not clean the shipping area, fermentation tank or equipment, they cannot produce. They may have the milk, equipment, and the plant, but without clean equipment, the factory could be shut down or customers could suffer from health problems. The products are small, but very important to a plant.
In which segments do you have customers?
NM Our customers come from a number of industries such as oil and gas, agriculture, food, railway, construction, nutrition, building, and communications. We invite our customers to make decisions with us, which makes the supply chain more efficient, and benefits our marketing and technical support. We help our customers, in addition to our suppliers and partners. We work step by step to discover opportunities in the market and we choose to hire people for certain projects. With this strategy we enjoy constant growth. Kazakhstan is the focus for DuPont in the region.
What is your outlook for 2012?
VA I firmly believe that business will grow in 2012, owing to the launch of a number of new projects. Many people in Kazakhstan have begun to formulate business plans, bearing in mind our products and the benefits of our service. These projects are realistic, and this is very good for Ecober.
NM Our plan is further growth, as we want to increase our presence in the region. We have a five-year history, extensive experience, and a number of people doing business on our behalf. In the light of government initiatives, we expect to grow in order to meet new requirements.
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