Interview: “Becoming a stronger player in Japan”

Sika has agreed to acquire Hamatite, the adhesives business of The Yokohama Rubber Company. We spoke to Dominik Slappnig, Head Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, about the acquisition and the market in Japan.

The acquisition will significantly strengthen Sika’s market position in Japan

You have acquired Hamatite, a Japanese adhesives and sealants producer. How will this move strengthen your automotive and construction business?

Dominik Slappnig: By acquiring Hamatite, our automotive business will benefit from increased market access to all major Japanese OEMs, significantly increasing content per vehicle with these customers globally. Furthermore, the combined business will offer an extensive global production footprint, thus delivering long-term supply chain advantages to all automotive OEMs.

In construction, the acquisition will allow Sika to gain market share and become a strong player in the Japanese market. It will extend our range of adhesives and sealants that meet the high Japanese building standards.

Could you please describe the potential of the Japanese market for your business?

Slappnig: According to the Japan Sealant Industry Association, the total market size for construction sealants and adhesives, relevant to Sika’s business, in Japan is approximately EUR 575 million. Hamatite is the Japanese leader in the production and supply of automotive OEM glass bonding applications. As well, Hamatite has a strong market position in the construction Industry in polyurethane sealing applications for wall, roof, and window glazing.

To what extent differ customer demands in Japan compared to Europe?

Slappnig: There are three significant sealant technologies being used in Japan and all are available in both 1- and 2-component versions. This is quite unusual when compared to the rest of the world, where 2-component products have all but disappeared and are now used mainly for specialist applications.

Japanese building construction codes and specifications still require 2-component sealants for the so called ‘moving joints’ and the biggest application for these products is on multi-storey buildings, both commercial and residential. As the technology for 1-component sealants continued to improve over the years, most other countries moved to 1-component sealants many years ago, for efficiency reasons.

The business cultures in Europe and Japan differ. To what extent will the integration become a challenging task?

Slappnig: In the last 10 years Sika has done more than 60 acquisitions worldwide. We normally use these acquisitions as growth platforms. This will be the case also with the Hamatite business. As always Sika will pay close attention to the corporate culture and respect local business practices. We are looking forward to the Hamatite employees joining our team and to developing our joint cross-selling potential together.

This interview is part of a longer article on the acquisition which can be read in the June issue of the European Coatings Journal.

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