Royal dsm’s boss explains how $16b outfit’s 180° turn is reaping great returns gas prices going up june 2016


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“For some who are not familiar with our brand, it must be perplexing to reconcile our corporate initials DSM – which expand to Dutch State Mines or Nederlandse Staatsmijnen – and find us attributing our positive financials to an 8% growth in our nutrition division and elevated vitamin prices, and having no mines on our books,” remarks the Dutch industry captain, in an exclusive interview.

While sticking to its petrochemical business model, privatization of the 1980s and 1990s gave the company the creative license to explore biotechnology and specialty chemicals. “Expansion led DSM to acquire biotech leader Gist-brocades in 1998, where I worked on new business ventures in India and other emerging markets. After the acquisition, I joined DSM and subsequently its board.”

“In the West, the market was led by the likes of BASF (Germany) and Dow Chemical (U.S.) who had scalability, and in the East players such as SABIC (Saudi Arabia) and Chinese petrochemical manufacturers were rapidly gaining traction. The core of our business – polyethylene, polypropylene, crackers and bulk chemicals – also required considerable investment to keep up with the competition.”

“Divestment and investment also had to proceed at a pace many were not comfortable with. But if our future was not in petro- and bulk chemicals, then why sit on an asset and wait for it to become a liability before selling? We’d rather be proactive and get value for money in the “here and now”, which we did. la t gastrobar opiniones With all that now done, and the last bit of portfolio optimization having taken place as recently as this year, I leave it to others to give their verdict.”

“Back in the petrochemical days we spent 0.5% to 1% of our turnover on research and development (R&D). This has risen to a 5% R&D spend as we speak from a position of expertise these days when it comes to food ingredients, nutrients, health products and specialty materials. This was hardly the case 15 years ago in a predictable petrochemicals tussle.”

Another silent transition DSM has made is the evolution of its workforce over the last 20 years. “When I stepped into DSM’s corridors 20 years ago, it was a typical European company with everyone in executive authority, not just the board, being white, 50-years plus, Dutch and male. hp gas online refill booking status The board was all male, and among the top 400 executives, only one was female.”

“But a diverse group does not organize itself; we had to put some effort in that. Now we have almost 50 females in the top 300 executives in the company, three female board members and two females on our executive committee. Our workforce comprises of some 100 different nationalities, and that’s reflected from plant floor to the executive floor.”

Market rumors suggest cash rich DSM has $3.5 billion in dry power ready to splurge on acquisitions, mention of which draws a beaming smile from Sijbesma. “Acquisitions are not about numbers, they are about strategy. Ours is all about emerging markets, while not losing sight of established markets such as Europe and North America. gas density Majority of our acquisition targets would be in the food and nutrition area premised on what value they can add to our innovative streak.”

India, where the company also has two greenfield projects, remains a key focus, followed by China, and other markets in South East Asia. “It’s logical, as that is where half the world’s population growth would be and nutrition needs to be taken seriously. Away from emerging Asia, we are also expanding in Africa via our presence in South Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda.”

“And as a person running a company directly involved in nutrition, it pains me to confront the reality that almost a billion people in the world are going to bed hungry every day. As human beings we are better than this. I hope that both myself personally and DSM as a company play their part to change this dynamic.” That should be well within the scope of a company and its boss so at peace with transitions.