Five minutes with…
Dr. Hans Joachim Müller, CEO AZELIS
Chemistry Today: How is business going in Azelis?
Müller: The business, especially since the third quarter of last year, is stepping up tremendously, we have very good momentum. We have grown across all the market segments we are serving, but have seen remarkable growth in agrochemicals, household & industrial cleaning and personal care.
CT: What sector is growing stronger?
Müller: We are experiencing very strong growth in the agrochemicals sector. This is mostly thanks to an acquired business – Ametech in Milan (Italy) – which we bought last year. Household & industrial cleaning is rising strongly too, thanks to the innovative contributions we brought to the market. Personal care is also growing very nicely, but not as much as the other two.
CT: I have seen you are also expanding in Africa, for example opening an office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Müller: Yes, true. Africa hosts over 50 countries and is home to more than 1.2 billion people. While the economies in some countries are still in a rather uninspiring state, some others are progressing rather well – Ivory Coast has been growing firmly in the last couple of years.
We also have operations in Morocco, and will soon open an office in Tunisia. We truly believe that several countries and regions in Africa deserve more focus, because they are developing a significant middle class. In the course of the year we are also planning to move into Ethiopia, a sizeable market which has been expanding nicely with a CAGR of over 9 % over the last twelve years.
Accordingly the World Fund has earmarked Ethiopia as one of the fastest growing countries worldwide with also a stable legislation. Given that quite a few countries in Africa have a fast growing middle class the continent has the potential to become an important growth driver for the global economy. We at Azelis want to contribute to their economies and help them become self-sustaining communities.
CT: You recently made distribution agreements with Lonza and WeylChem. Are the partnerships going well?
Müller: WeylChem and Azelis have been partners for about three years. Over this time we have jointly achieved a lot and we are very happy that WeylChem has decided to extend this successful partnership even further. Also, Lonza has been a strategic partner of ours for many years. As a result of delivering our promise Lonza has granted us the right to exclusively represent their portfolio in quite a few new geographies. Fostering exclusive partnerships to achieve seamless, strategic alliances between our principal partners’ aspirations and our own is an essential element of what we do.
CT: What can Azelis offer that no one else can?
Müller: We build our service offering on a highly trained, technical team who is enthusiastic about bringing innovative solutions to the marketplace. Our people come from the industries we serve, so we live and breathe our customers’ values and aspirations. We are especially strong in formulations and have an exhaustive view on which products are optimal for the formulations our customers need. Not only that, we also have a fully-fledged regulatory programme in place to live up to the ever increasing compliance needs.
Last but not least, I am proud to say that our people are not only knowledgeable but also highly accessible and enthusiastic about what they do in every country where we are active: our colleagues in Italy are serving the Italian market; the ones in Serbia are serving Serbian market… and so on. We do not believe in sales people from one country building relationships with customers located in another country – you need to be very close, you need to be in sync with the language and the culture of your customers.
CT: What is your take on the ChemSpec 2017?
Müller: We have had some extremely interesting conversations, and I look very much forward to furthering them toward fruitful business opportunities.