International entrepreneurship in the chemical sector: the road to success
The Ghent-based DOMO Carpet started producing carpets and synthetic fibers thirty years ago. Since then, the family business has grown into a unique supplier of nylon 6/6.6 solutions for the global plastics and textile industry. Are there any lessons to be learned from this success story for other chemical companies looking to internationalize? We asked DOMO Chemicals CEO Yves Bonte exactly that question.
In response, Yves runs us through the genesis of his company to uncover several milestones along the way. “It soon became clear that our activities in fibers and yarns were too restrictive”, he explains. “We wanted to take up a better position in the value chain by venturing further upstream and downstream. We wanted to start manufacturing certain products we were still buying in at that time ourselves.
To do so, we took over a caprolactam factory — CPL is the main raw material for nylon 6 — near Leipzig in Germany in 1994. This marked a turning point in our history, and we also changed our name to DOMO Chemicals at that time.”
Around the turn of the millennium, huge opportunities opened up around the use of polymers in the automotive sector, the consumer goods sector, and industrial applications. Those were the reasons for the acquisition by DOMO of a compounding factory in Germany in 2002, from which the company gained expertise in engineering plastics at a rapid pace. “The one thing at which we’ve been very successful as a company”, Bonte believes, “is taking a flexible and shrewd approach towards building the knowledge and skills we needed to set ourselves apart from our competitors. If you succeed in combining high-quality products with strong service and an outstanding reputation, customers want to work with you, because they can rest assured you’ll offer them the right solutions.”
Once it had built a solid base of expertise, the company started expanding geographically. DOMO Chemicals moved into the United States, China and India. At the same time, the company also shifted its focus towards sustainability.
“Sustainability is one of the main cornerstones of our strategy, and we’re constantly refining our goals. We intend to be fully carbon-neutral by 2050, we are reducing the footprint of our polymers, and we are developing an ever greater range of products based on alternative raw materials.”
This pioneering role in the circular economy serves to further accelerate growth and scale up the company’s capacity to innovate. Creating synergies further enhances these aspects. Two years ago, DOMO Chemicals
lent its business another boost through the acquisition of Solvay’s polyamides business. “Forge partnerships, reinforce your purpose, and keep innovating in all areas”, DOMO’s CEO responds when asked what advice he has to anyone looking to internationalize.
“On top of that, we encourage powerful values such as responsibility, curiosity, and respect in our employees.
Our stakeholders and customers can sense that. It offers encouragement, it inspires, and it fosters growth.”
This is an English translation of an article that originally appeared in Dutch. Please find the original article here.