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Special Feature | January 2015

'For last few years, silicones industry has grown 3% above worldwide GDP'

It all begun in 1998 for Wacker Metroark Chemicals Pvt Ltd, when WACKER and Metroark decided to form a joint venture under Soumitra Mukherjee´s leadership. Mukherjee joined his father Swaraj Ranjan Mukherjee at Metroark to develop the know-how and install plants for manufacture of siloxane intermediates and silicone resins and varnishes, making Metroark the only manufacturer of silicones in India. In less than a year since its formation in 1998, Wacker Metroark Chemicals´ site began production of various silicone products, primarily for the textile and personal care industries. As of today, the company´s production capacity exceeds 20,000 metric tonnes per year. The facility also houses a state-of-the-art Competence Centre for fabric, garment and personal care applications. The plant´s Environment Management System and Quality Management System are certified by international agencies in accordance with ISO 14001 and 9001.

Soumitra Mukherjee, Managing Director of Wacker Metroark Chemicals, spoke to the Editor of the Indian Textile Journal about Wacker´s share in the silicone industry and the developments for the Indian market, especially the textile industry.

Excerpts...
What are the global trends in silicone - consumption, manufacturing & distribution?
Due to their wide-ranging product properties, silicones are used in a wide variety of products and applications and in several major industries, including the processing, construction, consumer care, coatings, and energy and electronics industries. In the past, silicones have grown three per cent above worldwide GDP. Today, the global silicone market has reached a volume of around ten billion euros. The largest growth potential lies in Asia where ever-higher living standards and the low level of silicones used per person are boosting demand for silicone products. As applications transfer from the West and as the demand for better performing materials grow, the use of silicone will continue to grow.

How does your company stand globally in silicone?
WACKER has established itself as a strong number two in silicones, with a leading market position in Europe. Our silicones division WACKER SILICONES provides customers with an offering of over 3,000 products - ranging from silicone fluids and emulsions, resins, elastomers and sealants, to silanes and pyrogenic silica grades. We manufacture both specialty products tailored to customers´ specific needs, and standard products primarily used as starting materials in the production of silicones. As a leading global player, we see a good deal of scope for our business to grow. For instance, we have quite deliberately built up our business teams specifically for Asia. The team for textile applications and consumer care is based in Kolkata, because our greatest expertise in these sectors is located in India. As a result, we have a stronger presence in the region and can respond faster. That allows us to develop the right products and build up local channels to our customers.

In India, what trend do you see in silicone consumption? Which are the segments that show greater scope in the coming years?
We see silicone growth across all segments. However, there is a spectrum. The textile industry is not growing which affects our ability to grow. We support the industry by offering innovative products that help our customers become more and more globally competitive. Personal Care, Household Care, and Chemical Industries are growing the fastest as consumers demand for higher quality and better performing products increase.

How long has your company been in India? What are the developments for the Indian<

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