When LANXESS subsidiary Saltigo GmbH participates in InformexUSA in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, from February 14-17, 2012, it wants to showcase more than simply its synthesis services for active ingredients, intermediates and fine chemicals. “Reliability, quality and expertise are the cornerstones of our success,” says Wolfgang Schmitz, Saltigo's Managing Director. “We help our customers address the challenges connected with the much cited “mega-trends”. It is above all a case of contributing to progress in such fields as health care, agriculture, mobility and urbanization by developing intelligent and innovative chemistry,” he explains. At the same time, the aspect of sustainability is gaining in importance.
Recognizing and addressing trends
Custom Manufacturing – the synthesis of active ingredients and their precursors on behalf of the customer – has always been Saltigo's core business. The company, together with its customers, thus makes an important contribution toward safeguarding the health and nutrition of people throughout the world. A key role is played by the company's mature, efficient, environmentally friendly and resource-sparing synthesis processes as well as high-quality, reliably manufactured substances. In the market for agricultural products in particular – the volume of which grew by 16-18 percent in 2011 – Saltigo predicts a very positive business development for the first half of 2012.
With its processes and substances, Saltigo supports its customers' innovativeness – not only in piloting and scale-up but also in production. For example, the synthesis modules obtained from renewable raw materials can be optimally reprocessed – from both an economic and ecological point of view. New kinds of electrolyte liquids for high-performance energy storage units allow more energy-efficient mobility. Polymer additives are opening up an increasing number of new applications for plastics and rubber. The potential for these materials is virtually unlimited. Without them, today's mobility and modern-day living in urban centers would be inconceivable. That is already true today, and it will become even more so in the future.
Apart from its expertise in the fields of process development and synthesis, Saltigo also offers its customers tailor-made service packages. Depending on the specific requirements, the extras can range from the procurement of raw materials to support with registration procedures and the compilation of the necessary documentation. Nowadays, many customers also want logistic services up to and including comprehensive Supply Chain Management to give them reliable access to the required quantity of a particular substance at exactly the right time – thus also enabling them to keep stocks to a minimum. In order to reduce working capital, the trend in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries is also very much toward “just-in-time” delivery of active ingredients and intermediates. “A supplier of customized synthesis solutions like Saltigo cannot afford to ignore such demands,” says Schmitz. However, to be able to do this, it is important to have a continuous, close and trusting relationship with the customer to achieve a high level of information transparency.
Focus on attractive multi-customer products
Tapping business opportunities with non-exclusively produced fine chemicals also offers important strategic development potential for Saltigo. Dirk Sandri, head of Marketing & Sales in Saltigo’s Agro & Fine Chemicals business line, sees this segment as a key growth market: “With our expertise and technical possibilities, we consider a doubling of our sales of such Premium Fine Chemicals within a few years to be realistic.”
That such non-exclusively manufactured products can offer considerable market potential is demonstrated by the example of the insect repellent Saltidin. Sandri explains: “Substances such as Saltidin are, from an economic point of view, extremely interesting and profitable niche products. Identifying and filling such attractive niches is a success strategy that we intend to pursue even more avidly in the future.” Consumer protection organizations gave top marks to insect repellents containing Saltidin, and it is also recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the substance of choice for malaria prophylaxis. Its active ingredient icaridin does not poison insects; it repels them very efficiently by acting on their sense of smell in a way that does not bother users.
Despite the ongoing consolidation in the pharmaceuticals industry and the resultant cost pressure that is also affecting custom manufacturing, Dr. Andreas Stolle, head of the Pharma business line at Saltigo, says it is important to make distinctions as regards future developments: “Innovation for processes and products combined with strict cost discipline is certainly the best way to stand out from competitors, especially those in the Asian region. What's more, a number of pharmaceutical companies have decided to adopt a dual strategy. At the beginning of the value chain they make use of the benefits of Asian providers, but then, when it comes to the later sophisticated reaction steps, they rely on the experience and quality understanding of European custom manufacturing partners.”
Extremely low kilogram prices often need to be put into perspective when the value chain is viewed as a whole. For example, global procurement management for the raw materials and expert asset management in production provide the essential basis for delivery reliability, and effective quality assurance is vital for consistently high product quality. The importance of environmental protection, occupational health & safety, plant safety and the conservation of resources also favors European partners.
New minds for sustainable success
New minds come up with new ideas, is one of Saltigo's mottoes. In 2011, three young people with doctorates in chemistry – one female and two male – were recruited to the Agro & Fine Chemicals business line. They are now working on new projects as laboratory managers. They concern themselves, for example, with aspects of recycling aimed at improving the eco-balance of established production processes. They are also searching for new catalyst systems, with the goal of making new methods of synthesis accessible for attractive target molecules.
Wolfgang Schmitz explains his expectations with regard to this forward-looking HR policy: “Being open to new ideas and, at the same time, passing on the valuable experience of previous generations to young colleagues safeguards the continuity that is essential to our business. That too, is an important aspect of sustainability.”
Saltigo GmbH is a leading supplier in the field of custom synthesis. The company of specialty chemicals group LANXESS belongs to the Advanced Intermediates segment, which achieved total sales in 2010 of EUR 1,321million. Saltigo, headquartered in Langenfeld and with production facilities in Leverkusen and Dormagen, employs around 1,400 staff worldwide. LANXESS Corporation operates a site for Saltigo in Redmond (Washington, United States).