With majority of its sales in the region being construction related, Wacker’s main focus will remain on expanding its supplies of polymer and silicone products for the sector
German chemical company Wacker Chemie continues to see the Middle East region as a growing market, relying predominantly on the intense activity in the construction and the infrastructure sectors, a senior Wacker official said.
Its other key markets of focus in the region are the coatings, paints, adhesives, energy and textile sectors.
“We have always been present in the construction sector in the Middle East and we see it as the driving force for our own growth in the region,” Auguste Willems, member of the executive board of Wacker Chemie AG said.
According to him, Wacker has been able to participate in the growing regional construction market mainly with its supplies of polymer and silicone products that lend high quality advantages including resistance to abrasion and harsh climate impact.
With majority of its sales in the region being construction related, Wacker’s main focus will remain on expanding its supplies of polymer and silicone products, he added.
“Polymer and silicone products will continue to be our drivers for growth in the Middle East region,” Willems said.
DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH
Wacker has witnessed constant growth in the region over the years, despite the impact of various turmoils that affected the region.
The company’s activities in the region date back to 1980s, when it started working with various partners and distributors in the region. To boost regional sales activities particularly for polymer products, Wacker Chemie Dubai was founded in 1999. In the year 2000, the first liaison office in Dubai opened to more closely support customers and partners in the Gulf region.
Two years later, Wacker Chemicals Middle East was founded as a 100 per cent subsidiary. Today, Wacker Chemicals Middle East in Dubai serves customers on the Arabian Peninsula, the entire African continent, and in the East Gulf Countries.
According to Willems, Wacker’s sales in the region were up by double digits in 2016 and it expects to continue to grow by the same pace this year. The company maintains that the sales have not been impacted, so far, by the oil price decline.
“If there comes a crisis then we will feel it, until now things are going well. I think we will continue to grow,” said Willems.
Wacker’s polymers are used in lightweight applications such as thin-layered tile adhesives for buildings and external insulation as well as in coatings. Its silicone resins are used in coatings that are water repellant.
The company, which operates a technical centre in Dubai and has a dedicated laboratory for interior and exterior paints and coating applications, is constantly upgrading and customising its products for the regional market. Among its top selling brands in the region is Vinnapas dispersible polymer powder or dispersion, which has a high pigment-binding capacity providing paints with excellent scrub resistance and early water resistance.
Recently, at the Middle East Coatings Show (MECS) and Middle East Electricity (MEE) in Dubai, Wacker presented several high-performance polymer binders and silicones for challenging coatings applications.
At the MECS, Wacker presented several novel polymeric binders to optimise the performance of adhesives and construction applications. The company introduced two new vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions specifically developed for the needs of the regional adhesives industry.
For formulating water-based adhesives in demanding paper and packaging applications, Wacker is presenting the new Vinnapas EP 6420. For difficult-to-bond substrates that require increasingly better adhesion, Wacker has developed the new Vinnapas EP 701K. The new Vinnacel 20 is polymeric modifier specifically designed for the needs of the region Middle East and Africa. Vinnapas EAF 7815 is a dispersion based on vinyl acetate, ethylene and acrylate, the company said.
The company showcased a new adhesion promoter for silicone rubber at the MEE. Wacker Primer G 790 toluene free is used to achieve reliable adhesion between addition-curing silicone rubbers and hard substrates such as aluminum, stainless steel or glass. In comparison with many conventional adhesion promoters, the primer contains no toluene or other aromatic compounds.
The adhesion promoter Primer G 790 has proven indispensable in many industrial sectors and applications for the pretreatment of metallic and hard non-metallic substrates. It helps to achieve a strong and permanent adhesive bond to liquid silicone rubbers and other addition-curing silicone rubber compounds, it said.
Willems said the company has no plans of setting up a manufacturing facility in the region, as of now. However, he pointed out that the company offers technical capability in Dubai through its Technical Centre.
In 2002, in order to support the rapidly growing demand for highly specialised chemical raw materials in the region, a technical centre was established in Dubai as a development and testing lab for construction-chemistry applications.
In 2009, Wacker Chemicals Middle East extended its local office and technical centre. Located at the “Dubai Silicon Oasis” (DSO) technology park in a 3,200 sq m building and spanning a plot of nearly 13,000 sq m, the technical centre is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment and hosts both the sales operations and research and application labs.
The company, in 2012, added an additional lab that comprises applications technology and test equipment for polymer dispersions needed as binders for interior architectural paints. Furthermore, the technical centre has extended its range of silicone additives and binders for paints and coatings applications.
These expansions have enabled Wacker to help its local customers develop new and tailor-made products for the market of high-quality coatings, encourage the exchange of know-how, and promote internationally recognised quality standards in the region, Willems said.
Alongside with the training facility Wacker Academy for knowledge transfer with key stakeholders, Wacker bolsters its technological leadership in top-quality chemical raw materials across industry sectors.
Currently, Wacker Chemicals Middle East has a working staff of 48 employees in Dubai.