It is a major investment by the company in its leather business, and a strong indication that the company’s Leather Business Unit sees great opportunities for continued growth in the Indian leather manufacturing sector.

“We are totally committed to the long term development of our services and products for India’s leather sector,” states Oliver Kinkel, head of Clariant’s global Leather Business Unit. “We see the country’s leather related businesses growing and we expect to see above average growth for our products and services. We are looking for double-digit growth from the business in India.”

Clariant already has major production sites in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, and in Roha, Maharashtra, both situated close to major leather processing zones. Ranipet, Chennai, was chosen for the development of the new Leather Excellence Center as it is perfectly positioned to enable Clariant to provide a central application laboratory and technical services for the whole country, and especially for all the key accounts across southern India.

At Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited (CCIL), R Kumaresan, head of the Leather Services Business Unit India, has described the new laboratory as an excellent interpretation of Clariant’s ‘global technology, locally tailor-made solutions’ concept. The new laboratory and excellence center will house the entire technical and marketing team and will improve the BU’s efficiency and its ability to provide customised solutions for the development of leather articles. The well-equipped laboratory, with the most up-to-date machinery from many major Italian companies, can process leather from beamhouse through to finishing, and also includes a new testing facility for water-repellent leathers.

“We have a product range for all stages of leather production. The new laboratory will be instrumental in bringing Clariant’s latest technologies and systems to our customers at an even faster pace than before,” Kumaresan states. “It shows our commitment to the specialty chemicals business in offering innovative and personalised solutions for our customers. It will also help in getting information to them more speedily about important European fashion trends. Clariant works in close collaboration with Modeurope, as well as with CLRI, India’s Central Leather Research Institute.”

Dr Deepak Parikh, VC&MD, Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited said: “The new center is a vivid example of Clariant’s desire to consolidate and upgrade its capabilities on a continuous basis in the country. We believe double-digit growth is realistic and the business is gaining momentum as customers appreciate the value of our innovations and personalized solutions.”

“We’ve set our targets for 2015,” says Kinkel, “and they include strong growth rates and profitability based on our competitive position. We will continue to further improve our focus on our innovation success rate, with new R&D developments, solutions and processes.”

This new investment in India’s leather industry shows that Clariant and CCIL remain very optimistic about the country’s business environment.