"Kraton has been in the Asia Pacific region for more than 40 years, where we have continued to grow and strengthen our business operations to meet the rapid expansion and demands in the region," says George Gregory, CEO and president of Kraton.
"We are committed to this region and to ensuring that we have the expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and technology in place to continue to provide innovative, customised solutions for our customers."
The new customer service centre, to be located in China, is projected to be operational in the first quarter of 2007, and will include both distribution capabilities and technical product support for customers in the region.
• The distribution centre will include storage, packaging, and limited finishing capability for Kraton D, Kraton G and IR products. The distribution centre will improve product availability, reduce order lead times, optimise logistics, and improve overall service levels for customers in the Asia Pacific region, and
• The new technical centre will serve customers in the Asia Pacific region, providing product testing, quality assurance, customer service, as well as targeted product development. Kraton will maintain its technical centre in Tsukuba, Japan to provide technical service and support to the local Japanese market.
As part of its Asia Pacific expansion strategy, Kraton is evaluating the construction of a 30,000tpa hydrogenated SBC manufacturing facility in the region. This new facility would employ Kraton’s latest state-of-the-art technology for producing its Kraton G products and would set a new global standard for manufacturing costs and product quality.
Kraton has is in preliminary discussions with potential partners, and will soon commence a site selection and approval process. Kraton believes a plant could be operational as early as 2009.
To support Kraton’s expansion plans, the company has appointed James (Jim) M. Dieter to vice president of Sales and Marketing for Asia Pacific. Dieter has been with Kraton since 1977 and has managed in each of Kraton’s five end-use markets, most recently as North American manager for Adhesives, Sealants, and Coatings.
In his new role, Jim will be responsible for overseeing Kraton’s sales, marketing and business development efforts in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, Bruce Toig has been appointed to director of supply, Distribution and Customer Fulfilment for Asia Pacific. Toig has been with Kraton since 1976, most recently as North American business manager for Compounding.
Toig will be responsible for Kraton’s planning, distribution and customer service activities in the region. Bother Deiter and Toig will report to Michael Evans, vice president of Asia Pacific Operations, and reside in Shanghai.
"It is important that Kraton has dedicated experts in place as we look ahead to the next phase of expansion in the region. Our highly capable team in the region will certainly benefit from the leadership and experience that Jim and Bruce will offer. The addition of this multi-functional customer service centre, in advance of Kraton’s plans to introduce new capacity in the region, will ensure that our customers’ growth needs are being met," says Evans.
"We are very excited about our plans in the Asia Pacific region, and its future potential for Kraton," says CEO Gregory. "Kraton has built a strong presence in the region over the past several years and it is time to take this next step. Over the next several years, we intend to grow our position and will commit the necessary resources, technology and capital to that end."
Polymers LLC is a premier, global specialty chemicals company and is the world’s largest producer of styrenic block copolymers (‘SBCs’), a family of products whose chemistry was pioneered by Kraton over 40 years ago.
SBCs are highly engineered synthetic elastomers, which enhance the performance of products by delivering a variety of attributes, including greater flexibility, resilience, strength, durability and processability.