Good Chemistry
    Category: Companies & People By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 773 Date : Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 15:35:01

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    German multinational BASF’s history in Indonesia is a long one, starting with an investment in 1976 and beginning commercial production in 1977. From one production facility in Cengkareng, which used to produce the magnetic tapes, PT BASF Indonesia along with its sister company PT BASF Care Chemicals Indonesia and PT BASF Distribution Indonesia now has four facilities producing such items as resins, coatings and petrochemicals. In 2016, BASF’s operations in Indonesia had revenues of approximately €470 million, out of BASF global sales of €58 billion—showing a huge room for growth within BASF’s global sales.

    The company’s iconic cassette tapes may be, even today, its best-known product, as they could be found at one time in many Indonesian households. “Why were we so popular with magnetic tapes? It is because we invented it. That’s the core strength of BASF, innovation through chemistry,” says Singaporean Daniel Loh, president director of the three BASF companies in Indonesia, who took the job last April.

    As the new president director, Daniel sees big potential in the country. He cites some general factors, such as the huge population of 260 million and the growing middle class. Daniel sees areas where BASF products could help Indonesia’s infrastructure development, such as chemical products used in construction that can trim costs and raise productivity. One product, Daniel claims, helped the Bali Mandara Toll Road project, completed in 2013, to be finished on time after it fallen behind schedule.

    “Typically concrete takes 28 days to achieve minimum strength. Some additives can bring down the time, but BASF’s additive is the best in the industry. We allow the concrete to set in less than 20 hours. As a result, the project was completed in time,” Daniel says.

    Another sector the company is active in is rice production. Working together with German International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Ministry of Agriculture, BASF is participating in the Better Rice Initiative Asia program to improve production by mapping the issues faced by farmers. In the area of pest control, BASF offers an education for farmers on how to safely use its pesticides to reduce the threat to aquatic life.

    BASF also works in the area of nutrition and health. BASF produces vitamins and mineral that food producers can use to fortify food products, which can help fight problems such as infant stunting (Indonesia has the fifth highest number of stunted children in the world). Another factor is consumption of fatty acids that aid brain function. “The best estimate that we can get from local authorities is that 50% of Indonesians do not consume enough Omega 3. So that's one area where we see potential, but the process is not easy. To sell it, one must educate and create awareness together with the relevant parties and the ministries,” Daniel says.

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