Concentrol’s Serrabasa said: ‘I think the Mexican market is mainly for Mexico and a little for Central America. Guatemala and El Salvador are small countries, but they could be interesting given that we have stock in Mexico.’ He added that Concentrol supplies Colombia and Brazil through distributors in those countries who are independent of the Mexican operations.
SD Korea is experiencing growth in several regional South American markets, according to the company’s overseas sales development manager Kim Hyun-Jung. She said that her company handles sales to Colombia and Peru directly. It built markets in Colombia following a visit with KOTRA, an organisation that promotes Korean goods 10 years ago.
Yes, it is a gateway to Central and South America
Guillermo Gill, Fusioni
‘Business in Columbia is growing well, and business in Peru is steady,’ she added. The company serves the Mexican market through a local distributor. In addition, SD is trying to grow its business in Brazil, she said.
Hennecke’s Trello said that the Central American market is much smaller than Mexico’s. ‘But we still have some requests and investments that we want to make,’ he said. ‘The company runs its Mexican operations from two sites in Puebla and Queretaro.’
Three application areas for polyurethane stood out among the people we spoke to at UTECH Las Americas: automotive, insulation and refrigeration, and footwear. ‘The footwear market is important,’ said Repi’s technical services manager, Luis Luna.
‘Shoes are a very big market here,’ agreed Concentrol’s Serrabasa. ‘Trump maybe slowed the relationship with the US down a bit, but [overall] it’s very positive. Without a doubt, the US is our biggest market, Mexico is the second, and then we have Brazil and Colombia a bit further behind in automation, but they are interesting too.’
Serrabasa added that Central and South American markets are becoming more environmentally aware. ‘There is now a demand in the market to have more products that are environmentally friendly,’ he said. ‘This affects release agents. Generally, these have been solvent-based, and are now changing to water-based products.’
Best foot forward
Productos Eiffel’s Lemus said that flexible formulations for footwear and rigid formulations for spray foams are growing well. The Mexican shoe-making industry is centred on Leon in the north of the country, and also further south in Guadalajara. Polyether-based systems form the backbone of formulations.