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Roberto Pontifex, CEO, Polinox, “Brazilian Government Should Reconsider Labor Legislations and Tax Policy to Encourage the Composite Industry”

Polinox is the leading Brazilian manufacturer of organic peroxides and mold releases waxes – raw materials necessary to produce composites. With over three decades of experience, Polinox started out producing gelcoat, and left this market ten years ago, when this operation was sold to an international group.

From then on, Polinox has been working exclusively with organic peroxides and mold release waxes. Its factory, located in Itupeva – 70 km from Sao Paulo – has modern equipment and a completely secure structure to produce these special chemicals. Operating nationwide, Polinox has a portfolio of more than 800 composites manufacturers. In an exclusive interview CEO, Polinox, Roberto Pontifex, shares his experience with Editor, Lucintel, K. Venkateshwar. Rao. Excerpts:

1. What are the key drivers for composites consumption In Brazil?

Roberto Pontifex: Although Brazilian standards have considerably improved in recent years, housing and basic sanitation still indicate high deficits. As a consequence, these two segments are and shall continue to be country’s key drivers for composite consumption.

2. What are some of the key challenges faced by your company in the market?

Roberto Pontifex: Overall, Brazilian processors use only organic peroxides commodities formulations, in contrast to the intensive use of particular types and blends observed in North America and Europe. This is the key challenge faced by Polinox, the largest Brazilian manufacturer of organic peroxides. That is why we work diligently to make local processor aware of the importance of using fine products, ensuring better cost-benefit.

3. Tell us about the impact of government policies on industry?

Roberto Pontifex: There is a great expectation in Brazil concerning the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), although most of its funds were not released by the federal government yet. There are also positive perspectives related to "Minha Casa, Minha Vida" program, which aims to build 1 million houses for low-income families. Both programs shall generate very positive impacts to the composites industry.

4. Key challenges faced by composite end-users?

Roberto Pontifex: Recycling – or rather, the lack of it – is what determines the greatest challenge faced by end-users of composite materials.

5. Government support and policies change that is required to encourage exports of composite components?

Roberto Pontifex: Considering this is an industry characterized by an intensive workforce, Brazilian government should reconsider some labor legislation aspects, in addition, of course, to reconsidering tax policy in general. Only then, local processors will be able to compete in the global scenario. Another factor relates to government financing facilities, which encourage exports. Unfortunately, they are only accessible to large companies, whilst the great majority of Brazilian composite processors is represented by small and medium companies.

6. Emerging applications that you foresee to have a significant bearing on the composite consumption?

Roberto Pontifex: The wind blade, especially now with such a global movement to replace epoxy resins for vinyl-ester, is the application with the highest growth potential. I shall also point out several potential applications involving SMC, BMC and pultruded profiles, which are not often used in Brazil yet.

7. How has global slowdown affected the market? How has been your organization’s growth in the last 2-3 years and how do your foresee the growth forward?

Roberto Pontifex: There was a general market decline over the first half of the year, though we expect a recovery for the second half. Although such improvement does not support growth rates, I believe it shall allow the repetition of results verified by the Brazilian composites market in 2008. It is also what I expect for Polinox. In 2008, company's growth corresponded to 18% in comparison with the previous year, period in which we grew 10% compared to 2006.

8. Do you see high-potential for composites in the market? If yes, what are some of reasons for the same?

Roberto Pontifex: Yes, because the per capita consumption of composites in Brazil is infinitely lower than in the U.S. and Europe. It is a fantastic material, extremely versatile, and its growth depends only on a good economic scenario.

For further information on Brazil Composite Industry please check the link "Growth Opportunities in the Brazilian Composites Market 2008-2013, September, 2008, NEW

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