Chimcomplex president Stefan Vuza sat down with Business Review to talk about the importance of the chemical industry for the Romanian economy and the way it has adapted to the current context to become an even bigger player on the local scene.
By Anda Sebesi
Does Romania need new policy for the chemical industry? If so, what should it look like and what would our country stand to gain from this policy?
Yes, because Romania can become part of the European value chain. There are Pan-European projects and investments that can be made to cover demand for products of strategic importance to Europe. Romania’s chemical industry has the capacity, the know-how, and the ability to develop innovative technologies to respond to the challenges we face today and in the future. The Green Deal was designed as a turning point for Europe, and the chemical industry is ready to support the goals it lays out. The pandemic was one of the many cases in which we showed that our sector was resilient and reliable – when we pushed our capacity limits to meet the exponential growth in demand for disinfectants and products used in the development of protective gear. Oltchim and Chimcomplex are two emblematic and strategic chemical plants in Romania, and they are the only industrial platforms with fully Romanian capital to have continued operating throughout the transition of the last 30 years. These two platforms are crucial for Romania to remain a strategic industrial player in the region until 2030.
Back in 1990, Romania used to export chemicals worth EUR 34 billion per year, and now it imports EUR 8 billion worth of chemical products every year. The chemical industry generates the largest share of the country’s foreign trade deficit, with EUR 7 billion, but at the same time it has all it needs to become one of the biggest growth engines for Romania’s economy.
What kind of projects has Chimcomplex developed around the circular economy and energy efficiency?
We have ambitious projects in the field of energy efficiency (photovoltaic energy and 100 percent cogeneration on green hydrogen) integrated with high performance technological processes (nanotechnology in electrolysis generating green hydrogen). Our general objective is to continuously improve and raise the efficiency of production processes and to increase the quality of life in the communities where we operate, by ensuring well-being, environmental protection, and economic and social cohesion. The impact of investments in the region’s sustainable development will ensure job stability for Chimcomplex employees and over 5,000 employees from companies which are linked to us both horizontally and vertically.
What are the Romanian chemical industry’s financial needs?
We need to operate in the same economic environment as our major European and global competitors, which benefit from the liberalisation of energy prices, state guarantees for investments, and access to European funds. We need access to the EUR 9 billion the European Commission provides through the EU 4Health programme, but we need decision-making and political support in competition with other countries that are strongly lobbying in Brussels.
What are Chimcomplex’s main products and how do they meet the needs of the region and contribute to a higher quality of life?
In addition to chlorosodium products, we also produce a wide range of other chemicals.
The products manufactured by Chimcomplex are used daily to produce thousands of other safer and more durable products: from polyurethane shoe soles and car seat foam to PVC prosthetic limbs, titanium aircraft wings, and batteries for hybrid cars.
Our products are used in several fields, including the automotive, furniture, plastics, textiles, sugar, metallurgical, pharmaceutical industries, in the production of bleaching agents, soaps, detergents or road defrosting substances, in refining petroleum products, manufacturing cellulose, purifying free fatty acids in the oil industry, in water treatment facilities, thermal insulation, and the list can continue.