by Liz White, editor
“It’s probably the right time to invest in Russia,” said Juan Antonio Merino, general manager of Dow Formulated Systems, discussing Dow’s new systems house in the country.
The Dow executive is aware that some commentators feel that potential political instability in Russia, and too much concentration on the oil and gas businesses, make investment unwise.
“I respect those opinions, but it is not my view or Dow’s,” Merino said, in a 19 Jan telephone interview from his Milan, Italy, office.
Russia’s economy is recovering from a very bad 2009, when gross domestic product dipped by up to 8 percent. But observers feel that there is plenty of opportunity for strong domestic growth in consumer goods, automotive and construction products.
Dow’s aim is to get “a very solid position in Russia,” Merino said, and its new systems plant is “designed for future growth,” with the ability to easily double capacity (see box below).
Huntsman Polyurethanes has also recently invested in new systems facilities in Russia, as “part of our long-term strategy for the region,” said Simon Baker, Huntsman’s commercial director (see box on p23).
Merino noted that companies have to adopt specific strategies in doing business in Russia: “You cannot enter Russia from different points at the same time. You need to start at one place and build-up your local knowledge and relationships.” He said the way to do this is to “set up a…