IHS Chemical Week


Blog: Is Informex Going Rock and Roll?

10:13 AM MST | February 18, 2010 | By ALEX SCOTT

Informex, the specialty chemicals expo underway this week in San Francisco has started with a bang. At one of the pre-show parties around town this Monday evening I have it on good authority that two veteran chemical industry advertising executives went toe-to-toe and that finger pointing and insults soon gave way to shoving and shouting before onlookers were able to coax them apart. And all this after one of the guests was said to have collapsed unconscious from alcohol, hitting the floor with a bang before being dragged off to a chair for revival.
So has Informex gone Rock and Roll? Perhaps not quite yet: It seems that at the official event its business as usual. All of the familiar faces are here, and according to the event’s organizer UBM, visitor numbers and exhibitor numbers are on track to be the same as the past year despite 2009 being a tough one for the sector.
From informal discussions and formal interviews undertaken by CW the mood among the exhibitors and visitors seems to be more positive than one year ago. U.S. contract manufacturers of fine and specialty chemicals say they are seeing a return of business from U.S. customers who in recent years have been sourcing lower cost products in Asia and particularly in China.
Recovery from the tough months of 2009 is going to be hard according to many, and some companies say they may only match their financial performance of the past year. But there could be growth, especially in the second half of the year. The phrase that people keep telling me is that they are “cautiously optimistic.” So you see, the specialty chemical industry’s collective feet remain firmly planted on the ground as it does what it does best-providing the raw materials for life-saving pharmaceuticals and products that enable consumers to improve their quality of life.
Rock and Roll this business is not. The only drugs on show are the medicinal ones. Don’t expect to see Iggy Pop on stage at the 7:30 am Reach Breakfast Briefing or even strutting his stuff around the exhibition hall. For now, I’ve decided that throwing the TV out of my hotel window will have to wait at least until next year.  

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