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Gonzalo Arias, CEO, Amitech "Anti-cyclic Policies and Large Investments in Infrastructure is Generating Demand for Composites in Brazil"

Founded in 1999 in the city of Ipeuna (SP), Amitech Brazil is the largest local manufacturer of tubes of polyester reinforced with glass fibers (PRFV). Sua planta tem capacidade para produzir tubulacões de 300 mm a 3.000 mm de diâmetro, com pressões de trabalho de até 32 kgf/cm². Amitech is the only Brazilian company capable to produce pipes of PRFV for the process of rolling up to filamentar (filament winding) and for centrifugalization (CPRFV). The plant has capacity to produce pipes of 300 mm to 3,000 mm in diameter with working pressures of up to 32 kgf / cm ². The Amitech is controlled by two international groups: the Colombian World Investments, which holds 70% stake and Saudi Amiantit responsible for another 30%.

A Inversiones Mundial foi fundada em 1921 e está presente em países como Colômbia, Venezuela, Equador, México, Brasil, Chile e Argentina. The World Investment operates under the holding-TEK, which keeps plants in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and soon in Mexico. Juntas, as quatro unidades têm capacidade para produzir 1.300 km/ano. Together, the four units are capable of producing 1,300 km / year. It produces resins, paints, chemicals, consumer goods and tubes. The Amiantit, is the largest global manufacturer of pipes and fittings PRFV.

Besides Having the certificate of quality ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004 environmental certification, Amitech adjusted to international standards such as AWWA C-950 and ISO 10467 and 10639. The company also participated actively in drafting the Brazilian standard NBR 15536, published in November 2007, establishing the parameters of inspection on receipt and performance of pipes and connections from PRFV used in works of sanitation. In an exclusive interview CEO, Gonzalo Arias shares his experience with Editor, Lucintel, K. Venkateshwar. Rao. Excerpts:

1. What are the key drivers for composite consumption in Brazil?

Gonzalo Arias: It depends on each specific application, but in general terms we can mention economic growth, investments in infrastructure, cost structure relative to traditional materials and a better understanding of the engineering community and end users about how to design and use composites.

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

Gonzalo Arias: The resistance to change traditional materials by composites is still high and demands education of engineers in design, installation and operation of projects with our product. This is an everyday activity. Another major challenge is the management of the risk due to the cycles of each project and the fluctuations in raw material costs. It is very common that the infrastructure projects have contracts with fixed values for extended periods and the raw material cost varies along with the fluctuations of the commodities and also with exchange rate.

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

Gonzalo Arias: The impact of the policies from the government is very high. Especially the direct effect of anti-cyclic policies with large investments in infrastructure impacts positively the demand of materials.  Indirectly, macroeconomic policies to reduce cost of capital, inflation and keeping stability in the exchange rate are in favor of long term investments that benefits the industry in general.

4.Key challenges faced by composite end-users?

Gonzalo Arias: In my opinion the major challenges are in the hands of the leaders of the industry that has to teach and demonstrate end-users the benefits of the use of composites in its different applications and the best way to operate and maintain them over the time.

5. Emerging applications that you foresee to have a significant bearing on the composites consumption?

Gonzalo Arias: In general, I see a big potential of growth in products related to infrastructure (pipes, treatment plants, tanks, composites to improve concrete properties, etc)

6. 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?

Gonzalo Arias: The demand was severally affected in the last quarter of 2008 and first quarter 2009. The real devaluation, slow down in public contracting and restrictions in credit to private companies affected the progress in many projects in the country. For the second quarter we see an improvement and we foresee that the demand will recover by second half of the year. Our company basically doubled their activity in 2008 compared to 2007. The introduction of the Flowtite technology (continuous filament winding process), together with a higher demand and market penetration allowed us to increase significantly our sales in spite of the decreased we saw in the last quarter 2008. We expect to have similar figures this year and a rate of growth of about 20% for the next two years.

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

Gonzalo Arias: Yes I do. Some reason are the lack of knowledge that in general end users still have about composites, the opportunities that exists in incorporating new technologies with better process control and higher scales of production, and the incredible possibilities that exist in custom design solutions in many plications with composites that are still unexplored in the market.

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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