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Analysis of the Brazilian and Argentinian Surfactants Market

  • August 2013
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 145 pages


Table of Contents

Strategic Opportunities for a Fast Pace Growing Market

This research service provides an analysis of the surfactants market in Brazil and Argentina, detailing the anionic, amphoteric, cationic, and nonionic segments. The surfactants industry is a key raw material provider for the household and home care markets, as well as for textile, leather, agrochemicals, and other industrial cleansing uses. Surfactants are mostly produced locally in Brazil with increasing imports from Asia, Europe, and the United States. In Argentina, nonionic surfactants are fully imported from Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay mainly due to the lack of alcohol ethoxylate domestic manufacturing.

Key Findings

-The surfactants market is in a mature stage in Brazil and Argentina despite presenting higher growth in certain applications such as household, personal care, and agrochemicals.
-The surfactants end-user market has shown steady growth in the past, which is expected to continue throughout the forecast period.
-Personal care and household products are the main end-user sectors in the surfactants market.
-In Brazil in 2012, the surfactant market accounted for $xx billion, and is expected to reach $xx billion in 2018 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) ofxx%.
-In Argentina, in the same year, surfactant market accounted for $xx million, and is expected to reach $xx million in 2018 with a CAGR of xx%.
-From 2012 to 2018, the total surfactants market is expected to increase byxx% in revenue.
-In the total vertical market analysis, cationic surfactants presented the highest CAGR for the period 2012 to 2018, accounting for xx% growth. By the end of the forecast period, the market revenue is expected to increase by xx%.
-The main market competitors in Brazil are Oxiteno, Stepan Company, Deten Química S.A., Clariant, BASF, and AkzoNobel.
-In Argentina, the main market competitors are BASF, YPF, Clariant, Sulfatrade, and Oxiteno/American Chemicals.
-Some global emerging trends that will have a medium and long term impact include:
oMarket consolidation as large multinationals acquire smaller specialty producers.
oThe growing demand for renewable-based products that is safer and less environmentally harmful.
oThe use of surfactant blends to create better cost-performance products.
oAn increasing focus on research and development (R&D) to produce value-added differentiated solutions.
oThe bigger market penetration of concentrate cleaners to reduce costs, improve performance, and reduce environmental issues related to energy consumption and packaging sustainability.

CEO’s Perspective

- The market is considered to be in a mature stage, and end-user sectors are expected to continue driving growth in Brazil and Argentina.
- Beating internal and external competition through pricing and competitive strategies is important for continued growth in this market.
- Development of specialties, such as multifunctional products, has significantly added value to products offered in the market.
- Development of specialties, such as multifunctional products, has significantly added value to products offered in the market.
- Spending power of consumers is increasing fast. The growth of the middle and lower income groups is driving consumption.

Market Definitions

CAGR : The CAGR is the general projected growth rate of the industry from the base year to the end of the forecast period.
Surfactants : Surfactants are molecules that reduce surface tension and possess both a hydrophobic group (normally a hydrocarbon chain) and a more water-soluble hydrophilic group (most often containing oxygen or nitrogen atoms). Surfactants are generally classified by their ionic (electrical charge) properties in water and are most commonly used for their detergency, but can also be used for other purposes such as emulsification, foaming, wetting, and softening.
Amphoteric Surfactants : Amphoteric surfactants are used in personal cleansing and household cleaning products for their mildness. They have the ability to be anionic (negatively charged), cationic (positively charged), or nonionic (no charge) in solution depending on the acidity or alkalinity (pH) of the water. Imidazolines and betaines are the most important amphoterics.
Anionic Surfactants : Anionic surfactants are produced by sulfonation and sulphating and, in both cases, a negatively charged sulphur trioxide (SO3) group is added to the hydrophobe. They ionize in solution and have excellent cleaning properties. Anionic surfactants carry a negative charge, but are made up of a negatively charged alkyl portion with a positively charged cation.
Cationic Surfactants : Cationic surfactants are used in fabric softeners and in fabric-softening laundry detergents. Other cationics are the disinfecting/sanitizing ingredients in some household cleaners. They ionize in solution and have a positive charge. Quaternary ammonium compounds are the principal cationic surfactants.
Nonionic Surfactants : Nonionic surfactants are typically used in laundry and automatic dishwasher detergents and rinsing aids. As they do not ionize in solution and, thus, have no electrical charge, they are resistant to water hardness and clean well on most soils. The most widely used are alcohol ethoxylates.

Product and Technology Trends
-Local providers of green surfactants in Brazil and Argentina are mostly Rhodia and Oxiteno. Dow Chemical has introduced green surfactants since 2011 in the Latin America market.
-The key product line for Oxiteno in green surfactants is within anionics, mostly sodium lauryl sulfate. The surfactants are based on alcohol from vegetable origin (lauryl alcohol produced from palm kernel oil).
-Rhodia launched its sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) in Latin America in 2010. The product also has vegetable origin and is certified by Ecocert. The lauryl alcohol and ethylene oxide used in this SLES production are derived from palm oil and sugarcane, respectively.
-In Brazil, some companies are already introducing green surfactants in the market imported from Asia.
-Fenchem is importing green surfactants from China and Malaysia. The company’s product portfolio includes glucosides used in personal care as co-surfactant (xx% to xx% dosage) or main surfactant (xx% to xx% dosage) besides glucosides used in home care and industrial cleaners.
-Nonyl-phenol ethoxylates (NPE) and alkyl-phenol ethoxylates (APE) have been banned in the European Union since 2005 and major retailers in the United States such as Wal-Mart North America have also banned the commercialization of products containing these components.
-In Brazil and Argentina, NPE and APE are still used and there is no regulation that prohibits or control their use.
-One key Mega Trend that is having a steep impact globally and incipient penetration in Latin America is the growing consumers’ concerns regarding the demand for natural, renewable-based products that are more environmentally friendly.
-Both consumers and major retailers are demanding for wellness and sustainability in addition to performance. These concerns, combined with severe price volatility of feedstock, mainly natural gas and crude oil, resulted in an important response from the global surfactant industry.
-Many formulated cleaning manufacturers are, therefore, responding to this trend by eliminating APEs and NPEs from their formulations and replacing them with natural, renewable, oleo-based products such as methyl ester sulfates (MES) from soy or palm oil or seed oil-based alcohol ethoxylates mainly from coconut, castor, and rapeseed oils, with the majority being coconut and palm oil.
-Some examples of major cleaning product manufacturers that have phased out APEs from their products include JohnsonDiversey, Ecolab, and Reckitt Benckiser.
-In Brazil and Argentina, although there is no regulation that prohibits the use of NPEs and APEs, many multinationals are already adopting the oleo-based natural feedstock as they tend to standardize their formulations globally in order to be able to export their products to multiple markets.
-On the other hand, the utilization of NPEs is very important in the agriculture industry that has a big economic participation in both countries. NPEs are utilized as adjuvants for soy bean production and they act as wetting agents as well as to improve the action of glyphosate.
-Given the increasing importance of soy bean production in Latin America, it is not probable for NPEs to be banned for the agricultural use in the medium term.

Key Questions This Study Will Answer

- Is the market growing, how long will it continue to grow, and at what rate?
- What is the impact of related industries such as household and personal care?
- Are the existing competitors structured correctly to meet customer needs?
- Is this an industry or a market? Will these companies/products continue to exist or will they get acquired by other companies? Will the surfactants products become more specialized or commoditizes?
- Are the products offered presently meeting customer needs, or is additional development needed?

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