Interview with Dr Terry Yeates

Dr Terry Yeates
Dr Terry Yeates
Business Director (Health & Hygiene)
Arch Chemicals Inc.
Arch Chemicals Inc.

Based in Connecticut (USA), Arch Chemicals Inc (NYSE: ARJ) is a global Biocides company that embarks approximately $1.5 billion annual sales. With its manufacturing and customer-support facilities in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and backed with workforce of around 3,000 employees, the company enjoys leading position in Treatment Products as well as Performance Products, and is a pioneer in providing innovative, chemistry-based solutions to control the growth of harmful microbes. Treatment Products business segment of Arch Chemicals offers a range of special chemicals that are added to water, hair and skin care products, pressure-treated wood, paints and building products, and health and hygiene applications. The Purista brand under company’s Health & Hygiene division focuses on the positive attributes of cleanliness, freshness and purity, rather than the unpleasant aspects of bacterial growth. Purista treatments can be applied to various products including clothing, household goods, industrial textiles and now consumer plastics & foams. Dr Terry Yeates is the Business Director for the Health & Hygiene portfolio within the Biocides Business of Arch Chemicals. He is responsible for identifying and delivering sustainable business growth in key market sectors on a global basis. Dr Yeates has worked in the speciality chemicals industry for 20 years, initially joining ICI Chemicals and Polymers Division, and subsequently Zeneca Specialities, before joining the Protection & Hygiene business of Avecia Ltd in 1998. During that time, he has moved from a scientific research role, through techno-commercial marketing, to business management. In April 2004, Arch Chemicals Inc. acquired the Protection & Hygiene Business of Avecia, and Dr Yeates was entrusted the responsibilities as the Business Director. In a talk with Face2Face team, Dr Terry Yeates paints larger picture of textile Biocides business worldwide in current economic climate.

Initiating the talk, we would request you to let us and our visitor members know more about how does Arch Chemicals promote their textiles division?

In 2007, we formed a global alliance with BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, to market our Purista freshness enhancing finish and Reputex 20, the chemical behind the Purista co-brand, which is used on treated consumer products. We are working with BASF to enter new application sectors in everyday clothing and home textiles, such as shirts, fashion tops and bed linens. We wanted to join forces with a company that would strengthen our existing operation, making Purista available to the global textiles market while at the same time offering technical development potential.

In your opinion, how is the textile industry performing in the current economic climate?

Like all other industries, textile manufacturing is being affected by the current world economic conditions. In terms of volume, apparel and home textiles sales are down. However, this presents textile manufacturers and retailers with the opportunity to invest in added-value treatments as a way to differentiate their products and to increase their bottom line by offering consumers quality items at competitive prices.

We have a number of development projects for Purista ongoing at the moment following adoptions from Tesco Lotus in Thailand for towels and bed linen, and Hollander in the USA for non-foam containing bedding.

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What are advantages of Antimicrobials? What is world market size of this sector?

As an antimicrobial finish, Purista keeps textiles fresher for longer. Applied at the manufacturing stage, Purista protects clothing and home textiles from odour causing bacteria so they maintain their ‘just washed’ feeling for longer. Purista extends the life of textiles, providing a long lasting fresh finish so clothes require less frequent laundering. This wash-less approach offers consumers time and cost benefits as well as enabling them to reduce their eco-footprint.

In 2007, a market research report from Biocides Information Services estimated the market size of antimicrobials for textiles as being $159 million. There is clearly scope for development in the sector.

What makes Purista different to other antimicrobial treatments?

Purista is ionically bonded to the fibre molecule; the uniform and efficient distribution of the antimicrobial across the treated fibre increases the probability that a microbe will come into contact with the agent. Antimicrobial agents that are applied in the form of relatively large particles are at a disadvantage in terms of microbial contact simply due to the reduced probability of contact with the agent. Purista’s polymeric nature means there are multiple sites along the polymer that are active against bacteria.

Do you see enough awareness and demand for hygienic textile products from manufacturers and consumers as well?

We’ve seen growing interest year on year from manufacturers and retailers for products with antimicrobial and freshness attributes; there is definitely awareness among the textile industry.

Research conducted by TNS in 2007 showed that British, French and American consumers are willing to pay higher prices for treated clothing and home textiles. 39% of UK consumers would be happy to pay more, as would 54% of French shoppers and 48% of American customers. Consumers clearly recognise the benefit of performance enhancing treatments. Manufacturers and retailers should act on research such as this and take the opportunity to position themselves as market leaders at a time when the textile industry is becoming increasingly competitive.

Last but not least: what environment and human safety policies does Arch Chemicals have in place?

As implied by the Purista textile treatment tagline, ‘Stays Fresh, Wash Less’, Arch Chemicals is committed to operating in a safe, environmentally sound and sustainable manner. Our Purista treatment fits perfectly with the United Nation’s ‘Eco Tips for Jeans’ program, which encourages young people to wash their jeans less frequently, saving water, electricity and reducing their own eco-footprint.

On a broader scale, Arch Chemicals has long excelled under its Responsible Care® and our related ‘Goal is Zero’ initiative in the realms of workplace safety, environmental quality, pollution prevention, plant and cyber security, distribution safety and product stewardship. As its very name implies, the ‘Goal is Zero’ initiative is aimed at achieving the ultimate goals of zero employee and contractor injuries, zero distribution incidents, zero process safety (e.g. manufacturing) incidents, and zero environmental incidents.

You can track our progress on these and other key measures, including our greenhouse gas intensity, at our main website, Click on Corporate Responsibility at the top of our home page, and then on Responsible Care.


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Published on: 10/11/2008

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of