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Chemical industry at the core of Singapore innovation

Interview - November 19, 2018

The Wordlfolio talks with Henri Nejade, CEO of Brenntag Asia Pacific.



One of the sectors that traditionally has been very active in Singapore is the chemical sector. It is the fifth largest refining exporter in the world and the tenth in exporting today. What do you see as the reasons behind the success?

The energy and chemical industry play and will continue to play a good role in Singapore. Jurong Island is a fabulous example of innovation in the chemical industry. The majority of chemical producers on this island are managing a lot of innovation. There is a big environmental challenge to be managed. The diodes, the CO2 emissions in the atmosphere for example. How do you control that? It is forcing the chemical industry to be an innovative base in Singapore. The logistics facilities and Singapore strategic location are important to attract good business. In my view that is the key in this industry. There is also great support when it comes to education.


What were the reasons that brought Brenntag to come to Asia Pacific? What is the role of the Asia Pacific operation within the group today?

Brenntag is a global company from German origin. Until 2008, Brenntag had nothing in Asia. If you look at the chemical industry, one-third of the chemical industry is already in Asia. It's going to be even more if you look in terms of production and consumption. Being a worldwide distributor and a number one distributor, if you're not in Asia you're missing something. That was one of the major reasons why Brenntag decided to be in Asia.

Why did we start in Singapore and not in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea or somewhere else? When we decided to implement the operation in Singapore, it was extremely easy. You could open your company easily, you could start immediately, and you can start to hire people. All the foundations that you need are here. That was the main reason why we selected to be in Singapore.

As for the role we play within the group, for us it is the fastest growing industry and the largest in the region in terms of potential and we have to participate in this growth. What is our role now at the Brenntag level? In 10 years we have achieved the size of 10% of the group, which is very good. We are proud of these results and the growth. We'll continue to deliver double-digit growth in the region, which will transform massively in the coming years.