German Torres President, BRENNTAG ESSENTIALS LATIN AMERICA
"Our commitment is to be well prepared for macro-economic challenges such as exchange rate fluctuation and inflation while managing supply chain disruptions and price corrections."
How has Brenntag restructured its business model?
Brenntag has a new operating model with two divisions – Brenntag Essentials and Brenntag Specialties. Brenntag in Latam is particularly strong in serving material sciences industries, including cleaning products, coatings, construction, lubricants, polymers, and rubber, as well as in general the personal care markets. Our presence is solid in the Latin American agribusiness, the oil and gas/energy component are unique offerings that sets our business model apart from competition. We are proud of providing a full-line portfolio of industrial and specialty chemicals and ingredients as well as tailor-made application, marketing and supply chain solutions, technical and formulation support, comprehensive regulatory know-how, and digital solutions.
Can you speak about Brenntag’s business development in Latin America?
The Latam region offers ample opportunities, especially in the biggest geographies such as Mexico and Brazil. There is still a lot of fragmentation in the different industry segments. The pandemic, as well as other factors have once again shown the tremendous opportunities for consolidation and growth. For example, we have been working to extend chemistries and portfolios well developed in North America to the entire Americas, which led to the opportunity to amplify distribution agreements.
What steps has Brenntag taken to securing product inventory and ensuring reliable delivery during a time of continued chain disruptions?
Working capital management is a huge issue for everyone – distributors, customers, suppliers. The concern is not due to demand growing, but rather because pricing, which has significantly increased over the past couple of years. High logistics and supply chain costs leaves little room for flexibility, and businesses that do not have liquidity are suffering. Brenntag has the financial capacity to deal with such issues, but certain factors remain difficult to manage in areas that are not under our control. Planning, being close to the markets, and closely engaging with customers have become paramount to mitigate supply chain challenges. I believe this will remain a challenge for at least another year.
Can you elaborate on Brenntag’s sustainability approach?
In April, Brenntag introduced its new ESG Strategy that sets ambitious sustainability targets such as “carbon net zero” by the year 2045. In line with this strategy, by 2025, we want to have a genuine sustainability footprint and are therefore implementing several initiatives in Latin America. For instance, some of our sites are fully operated with solar panels generating electricity, such as our Neuquén site in Argentina. In the South of Brazil, we are also investing in renewable power generation.
What is Brenntag’s approach to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent?
Attracting and retaining talent is not only about the attractiveness of the industry we operate in and of the Brenntag brand, but also about what the new generations want. Over the past two years the working environment has changed significantly; best talent and professionals are looking for more flexibility in the workspace and remote work as well as career opportunities. It is our responsibility to demonstrate that industry, work, and company cultures can evolve to meet expectations and align with a cleaner and greener approach.
What is Brenntag’s vision for the Latin American chemical sector in 2023?
It is difficult to predict what will happen next year, but our clear intention and commitment is to be well prepared for macro-economic challenges such as exchange rate fluctuation and inflation while managing supply chain disruptions and price corrections. Our performance and business development in the past have shown that we are well positioned for key themes such as efficient operations to assure sustainable growth. Over the past two years, Brenntag in Latin America has developed key projects to make the company more agile, to be able and prepared to respond to challenging times and volatile market conditions.