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Eastman Bullish on Latin America, its Environment the Arts: In Latin America, Eastman sales were up 14 percent to $588 million, leading all other geographies in percentage growth.

Eastman Chemical is positioning itself for even greater sales in Latin America, following a double-digit sales increase last year by its production facilities in Brazil and Mexico. At the same time, the company is developing new programs for the preservation of the environment and support of the fine arts in the region.

"Eastman growth expectations for Latin America are to grow by double digits," said Tonda Gladson, North America sales manager Coatings and Inks, Eastman. "We accomplish this by working hand in hand with our clients, to know their needs and understand them; based on this and market insights Eastman can provide high-quality products, and innovations to help our clients to formulate better product to the final consumer."

Global sales for the diversified chemical company were up six percent overall last year to $10.2 billion, across all geographies. In Latin America, Eastman sales were up 14 percent to $588 million, leading all other geographies in percentage growth.

Coatings, inks and additives represent 23 percent of the company's Additives & Functional Products Segment. Latin America sales within the segment are about six percent of total sales, of which Brazil yields one-third of the regional sales.

The products Eastman manufactures in the coatings and inks additives product lines can be broadly classified as polymers and additives and solvents and include specialty coalescents, specialty solvents, paint additives, and specialty polymers, the company's 2018 annual report stated. The adhesives resins product line consists of hydrocarbon and rosin resins, it noted.

The company's Latin America business is led by Juan Moncada, who was appointed GM in 2016 and is based in Miami.

"We have had a solid growth rate for the last few years in the region, but we see plenty of potential for even higher business growth in Latin America, especially in Brazil," said Moncada upon assuming his role. "Latin America is undergoing a fundamental transformation towards positive development and I am confident that soon we will start seeing auspicious recovery signs."

Eastman's Brazilian production of 25,000 metric tons is based in Maua, Sao Paulo State under the Scandiflex subsidiary that was purchased by Eastman Chemical Holdings do Brasil in 2011. Scandiflex do Brasil manufactures a diversified line of polymeric and monomeric plasticizers, including phthalates, adipates, citrates, maleates, sebacates, azelates and trimellitates for a variety of end-use applications such as paint, varnishes, films, calendering, adhesives, wire and cables, toys, packaging, plastics, rubber, textile, plastisols, products for hospitals and veterinary use and for crop protection, the company said.

Eastman's manufacturing site in Mexico is located in Uruapan, the second-largest city in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Eastman acquired the Uruapan site in 2001 when it purchased a portion of the resins business from Hercules. The plant produces 34 different resin products which are used in adhesives, chewing gum, coatings and inks. The site exports about 14 percent of its total sales, according to the company.

Six times Eastman has been named as "one of the World's Most Ethical Companies" by Ethisphere Institute, a recognition of the Eastman team's "commitment to conducting business with honesty and integrity," the company noted recently.

Among environmental efforts, the company recently began an alternative to disposing oiled sulfur powder at the Maua facility. Previously the waste was put in landfills until the facility's operations team discovered that some customers blend sulfur powder with carbon black. In an 18-month project, Eastman then began selling the oiled sulfur powder waste for reuse, avoiding 100 million tons of waste, with an estimated annual saving of $100,000.

Another of the company's recent efforts to maintain a strong social corporate image is patronage of the fine arts. In July, in Brazil, the company made contributions to the Sao Paulo Art Museum Assis Chateaubriand (MASP), one of the most important museums in Brazil. It contains the largest collection of European art in the Southern Hemisphere, the company noted.

Throughout 2019, MASP is illuminating the theme of women, with feminist stories and special exhibits. The program contains a show by Tarsila do Amaral, one of the best known Brazilian painters. "To invest in art means investing in innovation and creativity, both driving growth. Arts education can spark the imagination of all, not just children, and Eastman is in a unique position to encourage this kind of learning," Moncada said in a company statement. "I am very proud of this initiative because it supports our vision of empowerment and commitment to gender equality."

Eastman Coatings at a Glance

Eastman's products are utilized in a host of market segments including automotive, aerosol coatings, architectural, coil coating, consumer electronics, wood, industrial and maritime coatings. The chemistries include the following functional groups:

Performance Technologies

* Cellulose esters for rheology modification, defect control, and color consistency

* Adhesion promoters, both chlorinated and non-chlorinated, to provide adhesion to modified polypropylene substrates and other plastics

* Solvents for achieving the desired application/performance characteristics;

* Resin intermediates, providing unique structural options for designing coating resins to meet the required performance properties

* Additives for faster dry-to-touch time, excellent anti-sag behavior, and ease of sanding

* Rosin resins, particularly useful in formulating NC lacquers with good color retention and excellent resistance to greases and oils

* Neutralizing amines to adjust the pH of paint formulations and improve performance attributes like pigment dispersion, tint strength, syneresis control, and grind/emulsion stability

* Resins, specifically Tetrashield protective resin systems, make coatings more durable through groundbreaking weathering, chemical resistance, and hardness.

Low-VOC, non-VOV and non-HAP Technologies

* Coalescents, providing a wide range of attributes to meet desired performance and regulatory needs

* Additives (waterborne), allowing formulators to significantly reduce VOC content in trim and wall paints by replacing volatile glycols while improving open time and wet edge

* Additives (waterborne), designed to improve the application, productivity, and performance of automotive (OEM and refinish) coatings

* Additives (solventborne), developed for high-solids coatings to provide decreased tack-free time, improved sag resistance, and a wider window for polishing with minimal impact on VOC content

* Specialty ketones with excellent solvent activity for developing high-solids coatings

* Ester solvents, including non-HAP products with low MIR values

* Methyl acetate, a VOC-exempt solvent in the U.S.

* Waterborne adhesion promoters, both chlorinated and non-chlorinated, designed to provide excellent adhesion to modified polypropylene substrates and other plastics

* Resin intermediates for developing resins that are useful in powder, high-solids, or waterborne coatings

* Sulfopolyesters with a broad range of physical properties that satisfy formulators' performance requirements.

by Charles W. Thurston

Latin America Correspondent
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Title Annotation:International Coatings Scene: Latin America
Author:Thurston, Charles W.
Publication:Coatings World
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Aug 1, 2019
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