05 May 2020
By Oliver Davies By Oliver Davies

How Trinseo is Doubling Down on CASE

In March 2019, Trinseo welcomed their new President and CEO, Frank Bozich. His arrival has initiated a time of change for the organization, particularly for those business units identified as having high potential for growth.

One of these is their newly-rebranded Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants & Elastomers (CASE) business, which has been singled out as particularly attractive within the portfolio. To find out more about their plans for what has been described as a ‘transformational’ period in their history, I spoke with Andre Hugentobler, Global Head of Innovation & EMEA Commercial and Lauren Pagano, Global Business Director for CASE.
 


Andre Hugentobler & Lauren Pagano
 

The fact that CASE has been selected as one of 3 business units within Trinseo for investment and growth means that even in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic, they’re still hiring. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m helping them with this process, looking to help them expand their EMEA team across a variety of functions.

I wanted to know why CASE had been selected as an area for growth within Trinseo. According to Lauren, it’s simple; the business has been effective over the last few years and aims to maintain and compound the recent double-digit growth.

It’s no coincidence that the new CEO’s background in speciality chemicals and that the Latex Binders business are looking to become more of a speciality provider to the space. According to Andre, it’s become less common to see truly specialist suppliers in the market, and this is a gap they want to bridge.

 

A Statement of Intent

 

A massive boon for the growth of the CASE business unit has been the acquisition of increased facility from DOW at their Rheinmünster site. Trinseo now has an integrated R&D, Applications, Pilot and Production site which has become the ‘hub’ for the CASE business.

For CASE, this is massive. Lauren told me that one of their previous barriers to growth was simply that they were at maximum capacity, meaning that they were constrained by the production and application facilities at their disposal.

As well as upping the volume of product, the centralising of R&D facilities means that everything development-focused is all in one place, which for Andre is a hugely exciting prospect. He said that the acquisition is a statement of intent, telling me that “the idea is to build a kind of innovation engine that can enable us to be an innovation leader in our industries and product lines”.

That would enable them to build on the existing reputation Trinseo has for maintaining a close relationship with their customers and going the extra mile. If the Rheinmünster acquisition does accommodate this innovation in addition to their current excellent customer service then it promises to be an exciting time for the CASE business.

 

Parallel Strategy

 

The acquisition in Rheinmünster is by no means the end of the expansion plans for CASE. I asked Lauren and Andre if more acquisitions and if so, what type, could be on the horizon. Both said that if it aids their journey in the future, there is no reason not to – portfolio diversification is key.

According to Andre they’re open to all options:

It could be anywhere from more transformational acquisitions and also more technological acquisitions. In my role as Innovation Director, I look into technologies that can allow us to really differentiate in the market.

The CASE business unit are happy to accept that they can’t do it all alone. Andre went on to say;

I don’t believe we can do everything ourselves, to reach our vision, so this [M&A] is definitely going to be a key pillar for our growth.

Lauren spoke about the combination of the two, a ‘parallel strategy’ which consists of both setting up to drive organic growth, commercially and with product development, in addition to heavily screening potential M&A targets.

Despite the current climate, it was refreshing to hear a business so open and forthright about their continued expansion plans.

 

“We Are in a Transformative State”

 

I mentioned at the top of the article that my team and I are working with Trinseo to grow their European headcount, so asked why a candidate should join them, and what sort of candidates they were looking for.

For Lauren, the attraction was that CASE “are in a transformative state” both organically and inorganically. For her, the opportunity to capitalise on the growth they’ve experienced in a ‘winning team’ in a ‘winning model’ is an extremely exciting one.

Andre said that the variety of the role and the ability to have an impact are what stand out to him, along with the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ that Trinseo’s culture promotes. He went on to say that attitude is extremely important to them when hiring too:

If you are a person that likes to proactively bring ideas up independently, then have the rest of the team help to bring those ideas forward, or if you’re someone who wants to see change, then this is a great place to be.

In closing, it’s an extremely exciting time to join Trinseo’s CASE business. If you’d like to learn more then please get in touch with me via my page or oliver.davies@industrial-cm.com.

Hopefully we speak soon about the opportunities they’re working on, but if not I’ll leave you with Lauren’s parting comments to me, which I think summarise the business:

We have a strong foothold in the market today and our goal is to capitalise on that. So, starting from a very solid base, we are in a step change and transformative position, both in CASE and within Trinseo globally.

We realize that, in order to achieve our aggressive and bold goals, we have to elevate our capabilities both in competency and leadership. To do that, we must expand and fuel our strategy via technology transformation, innovation and commercial excellence.

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Oliver Davies

Oliver Davies is a Business Manager that leads his own team, specialising in a variety of markets across the sector. Oliver specialises in recruitment within the chemicals industry and is an active member within the community. He has successfully built teams for industry leaders across the globe, with proactive searches that have been supported by his impressive network.

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