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Partners In Success

Unique friendship, business partnership drive Genencor/Asutex relationship.

After 23 years at one of the worlds largest producers of textile auxiliary products, long-time friends and co-workers Ramon Navarro and Lorenzo Liste left the safety and security of the corporate world to start their own company in Barcelona, Spain. The two friends, whose families spend holidays and vacations together, worked 16-hour days, making sales calls during the day and filling orders at night.Today, 14 years after Aplicaci Suministros Textiles, S.A. (Asutex) opened its doors, the textile chemical formulator boasts $20 million in revenues; annual growth close to 30 percent; three production facilities on two continents; and market share across Europe, South America and Asia. Along the way, Navarro and Liste sought key partnerships to offer the highest-quality products and services to their customers. Genencor International, one of the worlds largest biotechnology companies, became an integral part of Asutexs success. A Baby Is BornWhen Navarro and Liste decided to leave the multinational company, friends and family were astonished. Despite feeling really at home at the company, our desire to form our own firm was much greater, said Navarro. We both felt we had the knowledge and experience to go out on our own, and we didnt see it as a big risk.The company opened its doors in 1986 to produce and sell products for preparation, dyeing, finishing, continuous printing and serigraphy. Asutex began with five employees and 20 customers in a small warehouse near Barcelona. Navarro focused on sales and marketing, while Liste concentrated on technical service and research and development. Daniel Carreras and Arturo Ferrando, also from the multinational company, joined Navarro and Liste to handle the dyes and warehouse responsibilities. Two years later, the companys rapid growth necessitated its relocation to a larger facility in Barcelona the heart of Spains industrial region in the province of Catalonia. The 11,000- square-meter facility, located 140 kilometers south of the French border, houses the companys sales and marketing, customer service, research and development laboratory, and warehouse. Today, the companys 65 employees produce 14,000 metric tons of auxiliary products per year, plus 4,000 metric tons of liquid sulfur black at production facilities in Barcelona and Portugal. Last September, Asutex opened a plant in Morocco.Never did we expect the success that we have realized in such a short time, said Liste. We knew we had the knowledge and experience, and we are so excited to see our baby has grown up. Long-Time PartnersSeeking alpha-amylase enzymes for use in desizing preparations, Asutex discovered Genencor International in 1990. In the last decade, the relationship between the two companies has grown and flourished. Asutex has been instrumental in helping Genencor commercialize new products by conducting trials on several new enzymes including IndiAge® Neutra, launched in 1999. Neutral cellulases are key products for our stonewash customers in Europe and South America, and we were so happy when Genencor developed this product, said Navarro. We are very pleased with IndiAge Neutra enzyme; its the only neutral cellulase that we formulate for our end-users. 

Genencor claims the IndiAge Neutra enzyme offers textile chemical formulators the most flexible neutral cellulase available in the market today. The enzyme operates over a wide range of temperature and pH, 40°C to 60°C and 5 to 9, respectively. Unlike conventional neutral cellulases, the IndiAge Neutra product responds to variations in temperature and pH with only moderate changes in abrasion activity. This flexibility allows processors to operate at lower temperatures than with conventional products.IndiAge Neutra comes in both liquid and granule forms. IndiAge® Neutra G enzyme features Genencors proprietary granule, which includes a patented Enzoguard® coating. These granules are safer to handle than dusty powders and have improved features for easy blending and storage stability. The IndiAge® Neutra L product is very beneficial for automated liquid feed systems. We compared IndiAge Neutra G against other products, and we prefer to use it over anything else because it is very easy to formulate and has the encapsulated enzyme technology, said Liste. About GenencorGenencor International is a diversified biotechnology company that develops and delivers innovative products to the health care, agriculture and industrial chemicals markets. Using an integrated set of technology platforms, Genencors products deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to many of the problems of everyday life.Genencor was established in 1982 as a joint venture between Genentech Inc. and Corning Incorporated. Since its founding, Genencor has grown to become a leading biotechnology company, with over $300 million in 1999 revenues, more than 250 biotechnology products in commerce, and more than 3,000 owned and licensed patents and applications. Genencor, with more than 1,500 employees worldwide, has principal offices in Palo Alto, Calif.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Leiden, the Netherlands. Long Hours, Hard Work Pay OffFor the last 14 years, Navarro and Liste have logged long workdays and many kilometers traveling around the globe selling their products. Their families continue to spend holidays and vacations together, and they hope that one day their children might run the business. Through the ups and downs of running a business, one constant has remained: their friendship. There are lots of people who say our situation is unbelievable, especially after being friends for 30 years and continuing to work successfully together, Liste said.Both owners also say they attribute much of their success to forming partnerships with key companies like Genencor. We have always been interested in new ideas, new products or new processes, and we appreciate it when Genencor calls us seeking our opinions, said Navarro. From the first trial we ran of IndiAge Neutra G to participating in the University of Genencor three-day textiles training seminar, we feel that by working together, we are a part of Genencor, even though we are only a customer. 
Long-time friends and co-founders of Asutex, Lorenzo Liste (left) and Ramon Navarro, turned a start-up textile auxiliary company into a thriving business with 65 employees; three production facilities; 30-percent annual growth; and market share in Europe, Asia and South America.

January 2001