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Surfactant Update

SpecialChem / Tom Branna – Mar 15, 2006

Things are picking up for many suppliers of surfactants to the household and personal products industry. When putting together our annual look at the surfactant market, we found that most industry executives had nothing but positive responses to our wide-ranging questions on product trends, sales growth and expanding regions around the world. It's a completely different picture from just a couple of years ago, when many suppliers were grappling with over-capacity and dwindling profit margins. Yes, rising energy costs continue to plague the segment, but most suppliers have been able to pass at least some of those rising costs on to their more understanding customers. By product group, several suppliers singled out wipes as a source of gains, along with traditional growth categories such as hair care and body washes. Where in the world is all this growth coming from? Most observers are bullish on Asia and the U.S. For instance, Pascal Juery, vice president, home and personal care, Rhodia, insisted Asia has been on fire for the past 18 months.

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