İHSAN NECIPOĞLU

Turkey 2020 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

Dow's vision is to be the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world.

İhsan Necipoğlu
BIOGRAPHY

İhsan Necipoğlu is the President of Dow Turkey and Central Asia and a member of the Dow Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and India leadership team. He joined Dow Turkey in 1983 and has held a variety of domestic and international positions in the company for over 35 years. Prior to being appointed president in 2012, Necipoğlu was sales director of styrenics and performance materials for Dow Middle East, Africa, India, and Eastern Europe and head of the Turkish operations.

Breaking down Dow's business into its three main business units—packaging, infrastructure, and coatings—where do you see the most growth potential?
The first of Dow's three segments globally is packaging solutions, which as publicly announced, constituted around half the company's net sales in 1Q2019. The next one is industrial intermediaries and infrastructure, which involves polyurethanes and industrial solutions. That accounted for around 31% of revenue. The last one is performance materials and coatings—mostly related to the paint and construction industries—which represented about 21%. When you look at Dow Turkey specifically, we work with a large customer base in all these sectors. The main business operations for Dow Turkey utilize Dow's global sourcing to supply its customers, which constitutes most of its business in Turkey. We also provide solutions through our local manufacturing capacities. Our local manufacturing units include the emulsions that we manufacture for coatings, plastic additives that we produce to modify PVC window frames, and the polyurethane systems where we formulate systems for automotive and appliances, and for insulation for the construction industry. We also operate a 50/50 joint venture with Aksa, called DowAksa, a large-scale, full-service, fully integrated provider of carbon fiber solutions for industrial applications in current and future transportation, infrastructure, and energy markets.

What balance of exported versus domestically consumed products is Dow Turkey producing?
Most of the products we make are domestically consumed or are indirect exports. This is a result of the structure of our products. For example, one of our major markets, coatings, is mostly a domestic market. At the end of the day, most of our coating solutions are liquid, and it is not feasible to transport liquid over long distances, which is why our coating exports are mostly focused on nearby locations. The plastic additives products that we manufacture are easier to transport, as these are granules, and we export to countries in close proximity. Dow Plastic Additives business' contribution to Turkey's exports was recognized by the Istanbul Chemical Products Exporters' Association (İKMİB) in the Plastic Raw Materials category in 2018 with the “Stars of Exports" award. DowAksa produces carbon fiber and various composites for wind energy, wind turbines, and wrap materials for building retrofits. Its exports are mostly generated from the materials produced for wind energy. We signed a USD300-million agreement with Vestas in 2018. We started the exports for Vestas, so that is a major item for us for value-added exports.

How do your solutions improve energy efficiency?
A fair bit of our business is indirectly related to energy efficiency. For example, our polyurethane resins for appliances are all about energy efficiency, so at the end of the day we are making a difference by reducing the amount of energy our products consume. The solutions Dow provides to the appliance industry make it possible to qualify and improve energy efficiency ratings and the performance of the end products. Similarly, DowAksa works with the renewable sectors such as wind energy. Here, we make a substantial difference by manufacturing products that increase the energy efficiency of wind turbines, such as critical parts of the blade.

Considering the increasingly environmentally conscious habits of consumers, how is Dow working to adapt its products accordingly?
A great example is what we do in the packaging market with our Pack Studios concept. The Pack Studios are a global network of packaging experts, equipment, and testing capabilities that provide the right collaborative environment for the development of better packaging. Through Pack Studios, we are able to bring key value chain players together and provide access to the whole packaging value chain in order to define functional and sustainable packaging products that will satisfy current and future consumers. This collaboration is critical to design and deliver the packaging solutions that are both innovative and environmentally friendly.