A HUB FOR THE AGES

Mexico 2019 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

The mark of a truly responsive company is one that can develop services and products adapted to local needs.

Martín Toscano
BIOGRAPHY
Martín Toscano has over 20 years of experience in general management, sales and marketing, business administration, operations, and supply chain. He has worked in multiple regions and countries, including Argentina, Brazil, the US, and Germany. Before assuming his role as President of Evonik Industries de México, he was VP & Regional Head of Latin America for the nutrition and care segment as well as Regional Business Director for the animal nutrition line at Evonik Industries in São Paulo.

What industries has Evonik identified as key in Mexico?

Today, we have a major presence in a wide variety of sectors such as mining, automotive, and the animal nutrition and health business. The company has also identified further opportunities for growth in personal and household care, dental care, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, coatings, and oil and gas segments. The automotive industry is an interesting area of opportunity for us because our presence in the sector coincides with many of our business lines, which allows us to offer an integrated approach. The same goes for oil, gas, and aerospace. Evonik is working with the Mexican authorities and regulatory institutions to implement new technologies that can support the production and development of gas pipes. When it comes to aerospace, Querétaro has one of the fastest-growing hubs in the world today. It is roughly a USD20-billion industry in Mexico to whom Evonik can provide a wide variety of solutions. As a global company, we benefit from seeing many of our global accounts in Mexico and setting up assets here. They want Evonik to support their business in Mexico the same way we do in other regions.

How does doing business in Mexico differ from other markets?

One of the biggest differences in Mexico is that many global players and key regional accounts invest more in local R&D in comparison to their investments in other emerging countries, especially those involved with industries connected to manufacturing. This also due to the high level of quality that customers and companies expect from products and services. For this reason, it is important to not only rely on what is being developed in headquarters but also develop services and products adapted to local needs. We also see companies investing in the Mexican talent pipeline. Companies such as Audi are developing programs with universities to develop local talent and giving young students the opportunity to work and initiate their careers at an academic stage. Audi offers opportunities for Mexican students not only in Mexico but also in its facilities in Germany. To some extent, Evonik is developing a similar program in Mexico. We collaborate with universities in both Mexico and Germany to work in different areas of our organization through internships, and many of these students stay in the company after the program is finished.

How will recent mergers and acquisitions impact Evonik's business model?

Integrating recent acquisitions into our business model is one of our most important projects at the moment. We completed two important acquisitions in the US; one is the performance materials division of air products, while the other is a producer of precipitated silica for dental care, JM Huber. These acquisitions will increase our product portfolio and customer base in Mexico. JM Huber is a well-known and active American company in precipitated silicas, especially for the production of toothpaste. In this business, we will strengthen our partnership with Mission Hills and Procter & Gamble in Mexico, among others. We have been selected as the main supplier of all its necessary raw materials for the production of toothpaste. Mission Hills Mexico is also the largest toothpaste manufacturing site of Colgate in the world. In addition to dental care, just to give you another example, our products and technologies for the manufacturing of car seats will benefit the most from our other acquisitions, particularly tier-one and tier-two automotive companies. This also benefits our coatings and additives business line from which we serve companies like PPG Comex, one of our largest customers. So far in Mexico, both acquisitions have received positive feedback from our customer base.