Huub van Beijeren, CEO of STAHL, sums up the advantages and advances some consequences resulting from acquisition of the Clariant Leather Business, an operation which has made the Dutch company top player in the tanning-chemicals sector

Through acquisition of Clariant’s leather division, concluded on 30 April after an agreement was reached last October, Stahl has become the leading chemical company in the tanning-chemicals sector and looks to a revenue of over 600 million euro. To be specific, Stahl has taken over all Clariant’s activities in the leather sector, including production units in Germany, Italy and India, as well as laboratories present in various other places.

Thanks to this takeover Stahl is now the leading player on the market of chemical substances for leather products, in terms of know-how, expertise and range of technical solutions

declared Huub van Beijeren, CEO of Stahl.
We interviewed him to learn about the changes that the merger will bring to the market regarding product range, prices, service
networks and so forth.

Can you tell us in brief what are the main advantages of the acquisition for your company?

With more than 1,800 employees at 11 manufacturing sites and 38 laboratories in 23 countries, we have become the leading market player in chemicals for leather products in terms of knowledge, expertise and range of technical solutions.
As we expand our market and product coverage due to the acquisition of Clariant’s Leather Services Business, we are able to boost our innovation power, sustainability expertise and service levels. This enables us to respond even better to our clients’ needs in the field of leather products and performance coating.

The leather chemical market is getting smaller because of the concentration process. What are the consequences of this operation for the market and for the customers? Should they fear an increase of chemicals’ prices?

Thanks to the integration we offer solutions for the entire leather processing chain. This offers opportunities to serve our clients even better in each stage of leather processing. We believe that this approach will help our clients to perform even better in a more efficient and sustainable way.

Stahl now has a wider offer of technical solutions. Is there any problem of competition among products from one company and the other?

We are a true customer focused company. Since the start of our company in 1930 we offer the products our clients need. In the short term, we will offer the former Clariant product and the Stahl product portfolio next to each other. In the meantime, we will investigate what the best products are of the doubling products in both product portfolios. We will select the best of both worlds, to be able to offer the best product portfolio in the long run».

What about the assistance network of previous Clariant customers? Will it change in any way?

«In the short term we foresee no changes. Since the integration on 1 May 2014, we are integrating the two organisations. In June, we announced the renewed Management Team, which reflects the expansion of our business. The Management Team includes two former managers of the Clariant Leather Services Business: Harald Bauer, Group Director Wet-End, Chemicals and Dyes, and Ralph Blach, Group Director R&D and Technical Application. To secure a smooth integration, we will examine and streamline all processes.
We will do this with care to make sure that we boost our service levels to our clients even further.

We know that Clariant is getting a good market response from its very innovative EasyWhite Tan Process, better known as Granofin Easy F-90. Has this had a role in the acquisition’s decision?

We have taken over all activities of Clariant’s Leather Services Business, including manufacturing sites in Germany, Italy and India and laboratories in several other locations. Next to that, approximately 570 Clariant employees entered into Stahl’s employment. The entire set of assets and human resources is a real added value for our company. It enables us to cover the whole leather processing chain. EasyWhite Tan is of course one of the great solutions that we can also offer our clients now. The integration results into more choice and more possibilities for our clients. I expect that all our clients, including the former Clariant Leather Services Business clients, will appreciate that

Today, sustainability is the key topic in the leather industry. Can you tell us what are Stahl next concrete steps in this direction?

As I said earlier, ‘Innovation towards a more sustainable future’ will be our priority the coming period. At Stahl we strongly believe in taking responsibility. We see it as an obligation to take a leading role to contribute to higher environmental standards within the chemical and leather industries. That is why we not only invest in R&D to develop more sustainable solutions, but also want to improve the knowledge about sustainable operations in the chain and stimulate behaviour change. In June, we organised sustainability seminars for tanners in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with hundreds of participants. We also invited governmental representatives to participate in those seminars. In Bangladesh the Environment Minister Shuja Khanzada emphasised the importance of repressing environmental pollution. During the seminar he called on the tanners to stop using harmful chemicals, as there are plenty of environmental friendly water based chemicals available.