The Rupp Report: Meet The Needs Of Your Customer

The Rupp Report had the chance to talk to Paul Hulme, president of Huntsman Textile Effects,
Singapore. In a short period of time, Huntsman Textile Effects has become one of the global players
in textile dyestuffs and chemistry. Huntsman today has more than 11,000 employees and operates from
multiple locations worldwide. The company had 2009 revenues of approximately $8 billion.

Paul Hulme, an Englishman, is a chartered accountant with a business studies degree from the
University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Prior to leading Huntsman Textile Effects, he was
president of Materials & Effects. Paul Hulme is a dedicated golfer and squash player. He and
his wife, Julie, have two daughters.

Growing Markets

The current market situation as seen by Hulme is that globally, the textiles market continues
to grow, which makes it a very interesting and exciting market for Huntsman. “Clearly, this growth
is driven from Asia, so since acquiring the Textile Effects business, we have worked hard to adapt
our structure in order to serve our markets and our customers better,” he said. “Of course, the
financial crisis affected demand in all markets, but there are clear signs that demand is
increasing again. Even before the crisis, there was ongoing consolidation within the dye and
chemical supply base. Large competitors struggled or even went bankrupt. We have taken some tough
measures to bring our business to where it is today, and now we are ready to take on the
opportunities the market presents.”


Get Out Of The Crisis

“As a supplier to many key markets, all divisions of Huntsman Corp. were affected by the
crisis,” Hulme continued. “However, thanks to a strong balance sheet and adjusting quickly to the
market, we are now emerging stronger than before. As an integral part of the corporation, Textile
Effects plays its part in making Huntsman a successful corporation. The textiles market is very
interesting for us due to the growth rate expected in the coming years. Our strategic business
units of Apparel and Home Textiles (AHT) and Specialty Textiles (ST) are aligned to our selected
markets to respond to challenges arising from the ongoing market development.”

He went on to say: “As we have a global manufacturing footprint, our aim is to utilize our
strengths to meet customer needs and better serve our selected markets. Sophisticated synthesized
products are generally made in one location in order to optimize processing and guarantee quality
and, of course, safety standards. Less complex products may then be made in multiple locations to
be capable of increased flexibility but still to the same global standards of quality and safety.”

Information Exchange

“Listening to the customer’s needs is central to our strategy, and drives not only the supply
and distribution activities, but, possibly more importantly, our innovation focus,” Hulme said.
“Our aim is to be quick, flexible and responsive to the dynamic market that our customers are
facing, which should form the basis for a long-lasting business relationship. Leaving the economic
turmoil of the past 18 months, being close to our customers is more important than ever before.
Globally, we have already conducted customer events in our key markets this year to inform them
about our innovations and, of course, listen to their concerns.”

Research And Development

According to Hulme, innovation is a strong tradition of the Textile Effects business and is a
key element in Huntsman’s strategy. The company holds approximately 1,100 patents and introduced
more than 30 new products to the market last year. This year, Hulme said, Huntsman will exceed that

“The key priority is focusing on what the market needs whilst anticipating future trends,” he
said. “For example, there is a huge focus in the textile industry today on sustainability in terms
of reducing environmental impact. We are very well-placed to meet this requirement, but, of course,
the work started some years ago, and our research and technology teams are already working on the
next generation of products to meet tomorrow’s needs.”

New Products In The Pipeline

This year, Huntsman will launch more than 30 new products. Hulme says the focus in 2010 is to
help the textile industry meet the increasing demand for products and processes with lower
environmental impact. “We have some developments particularly in the areas of stain management to
keep apparel cleaner for longer and reduce the need for laundering and reactive dyes for cotton to
help reduce the amount of water and energy during processing,” he explained.

Market Position

Asked abut Huntsman Textile Effects’ position in the markets, Hulme said: “We are well-placed
to take advantage of the current focus on sustainability, and we have some very exciting
developments over the coming months that will allow a quantum leap in processing of cotton. We are
pleased with our achievements, but, of course, have clear targets [regarding] how we want to grow
our business. Our customers expect innovative solutions to the market demands. To deliver these, we
need to have the capability to develop the required products and processes. As mentioned above, we
have around 1,100 patents and launch many new products each year. However, we go further by
supporting our customers within their own operations to optimize the ways in which our products are
used, which we do via our regional technical resource teams.”


 “It is clear that the world’s focus is very heavily on environmental matters, which is
definitely a big change from 10 years ago,” Hulme said. “This helps a company like Huntsman, as
many of our investments in technology over recent years have been geared towards delivering
sustainable products and processes. Some trends will clearly continue, such as the growth in
manufacturing in Asia and the focus on sustainability. Pressure will remain on costs, and lead
times will continue to shorten, meaning the success of supply chain systems will be critical. There
is likely to be ongoing consolidation and more cooperation and even joint ventures with people
sharing technologies across different end markets.”

Hulme is convinced that the image of Huntsman in the textile world is very positive. “I
believe that partners and customers can trust in Huntsman as their sustainable partner in our
selected markets,” he explained. “The feedback from our customers is positive when it comes to
innovation, quality and technical service. We will continue to strengthen these areas whilst also
working on areas where we need to improve. We are pleased with our achievements, but we have to
constantly review our position and adjust to the needs of the markets.”

To keep its market position, Hulme says it is essential for Huntsman to “keep innovating to
meet the needs of our customers.”

August 10, 2010