Last summer, the company reorganized its home and personal care activities after failing to enlarge the business via acquisition. But Catherine Ehren- berger, business line head, home and personal care, assured members of the press that the company continues to expand its portfolio of products and services to serve the industry.
“To quote Mark Twain, the rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated,” joked Ms. Ehrenberger. “We haven’t dissolved the HPC business. We’re just using our infrastructure better to fuel our growth in HPC even faster.”
Unique technology and innovation are crucial to the company’s success, according to Martin Riedeker, Ciba’s chief technology officer. In 2003, for example, 24% of revenues were derived from products less than five years old. The company expects new products to account for 33% of sales in the near future. To accomplish that goal, Ciba operates 21 sites around the world, including a new facility in Shanghai and has an aggressive expansion plan in India.
“We’ve created a powerful technology base to provide integrated solutions for our HPC customers,” said Dr. Riedeker.
That base has enabled Ciba to file about 180 patents a year and introduce approximately 270 new products each year. Overall, the company spends nearly $250 million on R&D each year (at current exchange rates).
Dr. Riedeker noted that Ciba prefers to link with customers early in the idea stage. These partnerships with leading marketers can play a key role in the development of novel effects for the HPC market. In fact, Ciba has partnered with most of the major players in the HPC sector including P&G, Lion, Johnson & Johnson, Avon and L’Oréal. While partnerships are a key element to innovation, Ciba is also looking at relatively new concepts such as biotechnology and nanotechnology for the next breakthrough idea. Dr. Riedeker suggested that nanotechnology could lead to a raft of opportunities in surface technology. Nanotechnology enabled Ciba to create micronized UV filters and cosmetic delivery systems. Biotechnology has enabled the company to develop products that inhibit microbial growth and adhesion and control biofilms.
But while technology plays a key role in creating innovative solutions, Dr. Riedeker pointed out that meeting and exceeding the needs of the consumer remains at the core of any new product development.
What the Consumer Wants
During the event, Ciba executives walked reporters through a variety of innovative solutions for HPC. Nicolas Spillmann, business head, fabric appearance, noted that when it comes to laundry products, consumers demand greater convenience with less effort, a better clean and brighter colors, without damaging fabrics. To meet these needs, the company offers Tinosorb UV absorber which is washed into clothing to boost the sun protection of clothing. He also provided details on Ciba's Tinolux photocatalytic system that uses sunlight to safely and effectively bleach stains and improve the appearance of white. Tinotex comfort enhancers answer the consumer’s demand for easy cleaning because the molecule can reduce creasing, improve water absorption and make ironing easier. Finally, Tinofix dye fixative protects colored fabric from discoloration and fading during washing.
Ciba’s expertise in UV protection for clothing comes from its rich history of providing UV protection for consumers. One of the company’s newest UV products is Tinosorb M, which the company calls the first organic micro-fine particle UV filter for cosmetics. Another breakthrough in UV protection is the launch of Tinosorb S, which is the first UV absorber for cosmetics in the hydroxy- phenyl-triazine (HPT) class, according to Uli Osterwalder, marketing manager, UV protection and actives. Both UV products are available to formulators outside the U.S. But under the new Time and Extent Application (TEA) process, Ciba is submitting the two materials to FDA within the next two months and expects approval in 2006.
What’s New in Hair Care?
Meeting the diverse hair care needs of consumers keeps Ciba researchers busy in the lab. In fact, the company has introduced 16 products for various hair types in just nine months, explained Colleen Rocafort, business head, polymer systems. She noted that while consumer demand for healthy, shiny hair with body is fairly universal, hair structure varies greatly by age and ethnicity. To meet the ever-growing needs of consumers, Ciba offers a range of products. Some of the newest include Tinovis GTC, an associative thickener for crystal clear gel systems; Tinocare Si A1, a functional hair care silicone; Salcare conditioning polymers, which are especially designed for consumers of Asian and African descent and cationic liquid dispersion polymers, which impart conditioning and rheology properties to hair care systems.
Color and protection was the focus of a presentation by Joe Lupia, business head, colorants and stabilizers. According to Mr. Lupia, Ciba is focusing its efforts on improving the hair dying process to make it faster and easier. Ciba offers a variety of materials for this segment, including Vibracolor hair dyes which can be used in all hair color and care formulations due to their excellent solubility, pH stability, oxidation stability and fast-acting dyeing power.
To protect colors, Ciba also markets a line of stabilizer systems to help prolong the shelf life of cosmetics and household cleaners. These products include ESQ (excited state quencher), Tinogard and Cibafast UV light stabilizers and Tinogard antioxidants.
By the conclusion of the two-day press conference, reporters had a thorough understanding of Ciba’s HPC business. In her concluding remarks, Ms. Ehrenberger emphasized three takeaway messages:
• One, Ciba is committed to the household and personal care industry.
• Two, the company provides innovative solutions for household and personal care companies.
• Three, Ciba is eager to partner with its customers to demonstrate these innovations.
With its unwavering commitment to HPC, company executives insist a range of innovative solutions is available to customers around the world.