Albemarle Corporation is All Global

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): International Trade  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTAlbemarle Corporation, a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly engineered specialty chemicals, demonstrates the diversity of products being shipped today as break bulk cargo.
Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Albemarle’s specialty chemicals are used in consumer electronics; petroleum and petrochemical processing; transportation and industrial products; pharmaceuticals; agricultural products; and construction and packaging materials. Its products and services enhance the value of its customers’ end products by improving performance, providing essential product attributes, lowering cost and simplifying processing.
The company operates in three business segments—Polymer Additives, Catalysts and Fine Chemicals, and serves customers in approximately 100 countries. Forty-two percent of that business is in the Americas; 40% in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and 18% in the Asia Pacific.
Overall, the Albemarle sells approximately $2.5 billion of product per year.
Chemistry is the cornerstone of its business with its main strengths in bromine, phosphorus, aluminas, zeolites, metal oxides, and organometallics. The company also possesses expertise in orthoalkylation, amination and bromination.
“We consider ourselves to be one of the leaders in the safe handling and processing of highly reactive chemicals,” its website states.
Although the company’s roots originally stem from Richmond, VA, where it originally started its business in paper in 1887, last year it moved its headquarters to Baton Rouge, LA. The company already maintained a sizable presence in Baton Rouge.
Corporate executives had considered Houston (the epicenter for petrochemical jobs) and Miami for the headquarters, but decided on Baton Rouge because of its pro-business attitude and incentives offered by the state.
“Albemarle had also been a part of Baton Rouge’s economy for decades, going back to its predecessor Ethyl Corp.,” comments David W. DeCuir, director of Albemarle’s Fine Chemistry segment.
The company originally started its business in paper in 1887 in Virginia. In the 1920s it entered into a joint venture with General Motors and Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) to make additives for leaded gas to stop engine knocking.
“Research for the next additive spawned our activity in the chemical world,” remarks DeCuir.
Over the years the company has been slowly diversifying its holdings.
DeCuir explains that within the company’s fine chemical division are two groups: performance chemicals build around bromine, and biosides.
“Biosides are used in beef and chicken to help reduce salmonella,” he says.
In addition, DeCuir reveals how today Albemarle’s Fine Chemicals segment is part of Roche’s supply chain for chemicals used in Tamiflu.
“Our customer has allowed us to put into the press the fact we are working on new products,” he adds.
Today the company has regional operations offices in Baton Rouge; Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; and Tokyo, and manufacturing and R&D operations in Dayton, OH; Magnolia, ARK; Orangeburg, SC; Pasadena, Texas; and Tyrone, PA, as well as Avonmouth and Teesport, United Kingdom; Bergheim, Germany; Louvain-la-Neuve; and Thann, France. The company maintains sales offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Singapore; and Seoul, South Korea.
The company has operations in China, but no manufacturing in India. “We are looking for a strategic partner in India,” Gardner reveals. “We are looking at a merger or acquisition in India.”
Last year Albemarle Corp. opened a new production unit in Nanjing, China to make one of the world’s best performing phosphorus flame retardants, NcendX(R) P-30.
“This new plant will improve Albemarle’s flexibility to supply our Asian customers as well as the rest of our global customer base for this important and growing flame retardant,” says Luc Van Muylem, vice president of polymer additives.
The initial capacity of the new flame retardant plant wi

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American Journal of Transportation