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FDA alerts drive quality requirements upwards in pharma industry: Albert Stevens, IMCD Group

In this interview, Albert Stevens, VP Asia, IMCD Group, one of the leading global distributors of speciality chemicals, considers India to be one of the key growth drivers in Asia for the group

In this interview, Albert Stevens, VP Asia, IMCD Group, one of the leading global distributors of speciality chemicals, considers India to be one of the key growth drivers in Asia for the group The Euro 1.3-billion Dutch company, IMCD Group BV, is one of the leading distributors of speciality chemicals, representing major global producers and offering solutions for customers’ problems utilising its comprehensive and complementary product portfolio. It is the first distributor to be awarded the prestigious Lean & Green award, part of the innovation programme Sustainable Logistics by Connekt, an independent network of companies and authorities.
 
Albert Stevens, Vice President Asia, IMCD Group, who is responsible for the development and implementation of the business strategies for Asia, was recently in Mumbai to have first-hand experience of the burgeoning Indian market. Rakesh Rao caught up with Stevens to know more about IMCD’s business strategies and his views on Indian pharmaceutical ingredients industry.
 
What does IMCD brings to table for chemical manufacturers and its end-user?
IMCD is a Dutch company specialising in distribution of specialty chemicals to end-user industries such as pharmaceuticals, plastics, coatings, food, nutrition, etc. We represent principals and market their products to these sectors.
 
For us, end-user is the manufacturers and, hence, they are our portal to the end market. We bring lots of ideas on formulation developments, properties of chemicals, etc to customer.
 
IMCD mainly supply high-end, premium specialty chemicals, which require know-how in formulations and application developments. We have expertise in ingredients, and their properties and claims, and this is the extension that we offer as a supplier of specialty chemicals.
 
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Globally, we cover all the major areas of chemicals such as pharma, coatings, plastics, food ingredients, etc. In Asia, we are very strong in regulated sectors such as pharma, food and personal care.
 
How has been the performance of your business in Asia in last two years? Which are the important markets for you in Asia?
IMCD has experienced tremendous growth in Asia - especially in markets such as China, South East Asia. For us, Asia is increasingly becoming an important market, providing lots of new growth avenues for novel applications and formulations.
 
Majority of the chemicals that we distribute originate from developed countries such as Europe, USA, etc. Though the sourcing from Asia is increasing, it still accounts for a small share since we are very selective in choosing chemicals for distribution.
 
Within Asia, how do you view India as market potential?
India is one of the three key markets for IMCD in Asia. We consider India as continent in itself because it is huge. It’s for us a market, where we have made good progress in last few years and is one of the key drivers for growth.
 
What was the rationale behind acquiring Indchem International? Are you looking at more acquisitions in India?
We are committed to growth in India – organically as well as inorganically. In 2009, we started our marketing activities in India. The initial focus of the company was coatings, and, with acquisition of Indchem, we got a foothold in the pharmaceuticals segment as its portfolio perfectly complemented IMCD’s in India.
 
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Since inception, IMCD’s business in India has shown consistent high growth. With our group network and technical expertise, we are in better position to serve our customers throughout India. While at present, we have strong presence in coatings and pharmaceuticals industries, we will bring more products into India to cater to other sectors. Eventually, we will be replicating our Group’s strengthen in India.
 
What is your view on pharma ingredients industry in India?
India is at par with many of the global markets when it comes to pharmaceuticals. India is one of the hubs for custom manufacturing, with many leading global companies manufacturing their products in the country. In addition to IT, pharmaceutical is the sector for which India is known for globally.
 
Are the recent US FDA alerts having an impact on the Indian pharma ingredients market?
FDA alerts drive quality requirements upwards in the pharmaceutical industry. Development people in the industry become more sensitive towards the quality of ingredients that go into making of formulations.
 
In the end, this is supporting our business and reinforcing our role as the distributor of quality ingredients, having solid application knowledge. 

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