Paving The Way Through Collaborations
Written By: Sandhya Agrawal
The Anthea Group consists of three Group companies engaged in the manufacturing of various speciality Chemicals for Flavors & Fragrance Industry (F&F), Pharmaceutical intermediates and Agrochemical applications.
Anthea Aromatics Private Limited was established in 1991 in Navi Mumbai. The company manufactures speciality chemicals for the Flavours and Fragrance industry in two facilities located in Navi Mumbai and Tarapur. The in-house Research & Development facilities are located in the Navi Mumbai facility.
The second Group company, DRT-Anthea Aroma Chemicals Private Limited, was established in 2008, with manufacturing facilities in Roha, Maharashtra. This company is a 50:50 joint venture of Anthea with French multinational, les Dérivés Résiniques et Terpéniques (DRT), a global leader in rosin and gum turpentine derivatives. In 2020, DRT was acquired by Swiss F&F major, Firmenich SA. DRT-Anthea manufactures terpene chemicals like Anthamber®, Dihydromyrcenol, Methyl Pentenone, Geraniol, Nerol and Linalool.
The third Group company Catàsynth Speciality Chemicals Private Limited is located in Mangalore Special Economic Zone, Karnataka. It is a greenfield facility manufacturing Catechol based products using patented, eco-friendly and sustainable processes. Solvay, a global leader in diphenol chemistry, completed an equity investment to take a significant minority shareholding in Catàsynth Speciality Chemicals, in February 2020.
The Beginning of a Great Enterprise
Anthea was founded by Dr Vincent Paul, who was Head of the Organic Chemistry division at the erstwhile Hindustan Lever (now Unilever) Research Centre in Mumbai. Dr Paul obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, following which he did post-doctoral stints at Columbia and Johns Hopkins, the USA as a Fulbright scholar. He returned to India and joined HLL as a research scientist. He resigned from Hindustan Unilever in 1983 and incorporated Anthea Aromatics in 1985. The intervening years, until the setting up of the first manufacturing facility of the Group in Navi Mumbai in 1991, was filled with many struggles. Through capital pooled from personal savings and family members and friends, he set up Anthea to manufacture F&F chemicals. An equity investment in 1996-97 from the Calcuttawala and Khanderia families, helped expand production capacities and set the Company on its growth path.
With the confidence gained from the success of the Navi Mumbai plant, production was expanded to a second facility located in Roha, Maharashtra in 2002. In 2008, DRT, a significant player in the terpenes space, decided to partner with Anthea in a Joint Venture to manufacture a range of terpene chemicals in India. The result was the setting up of DRT-Anthea Aroma Chemicals Private Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between Anthea and DRT, which now has two manufacturing facilities located in Roha.
Anthea had, through its in-house R&D, also developed and patented a process for manufacturing synthetic Piperonal from Catechol. This process, being eco-friendly and sustainable, helped to offer an alternative product to natural Piperonal, the production of which involved the widespread destruction of Sassafras forests. To set up a manufacturing facility for Synthetic Piperonal, Anthea acquired Crown Chemicals in 2007. The facility in Tarapur MIDC started manufacturing Synthetic Piperonal in 2009. In 2011, DRT, France invested in Crown Chemicals to purchase a minority stake and subsequently increased its stake to 50% in 2013.
In 2016, ICICI Venture Funds Management Company Limited invested in Anthea to fund the future growth of the Group, and Anthea established Catàsynth Speciality Chemicals Private Limited as a 100% subsidiary, in the Mangalore SEZ to manufacture a range of downstream products from pyro-Catechol, based on patented manufacturing processes developed by Anthea in its in-house R&D facility. In January 2020, Anthea acquired the DRT shareholding in Crown Chemicals, to transfer the manufacturing of synthetic Piperonal to Catàsynth, following which, in February 2020, Solvay Chemicals and Plastics Holding B. V. invested in Catàsynth to acquire a significant minority stake in Catàsynth.
Dr. Paul Vincent Menacherry is the current Managing Director at Anthea and has been leading the Group since 2001.
The prevailing COVID crisis and the geopolitical situation with China have provided several opportunities for the Anthea Group of Companies to expand its business further to supply a range of Speciality Chemicals for F&F, Pharmaceutical and Agrochemical applications to the global marketplace.
Managing Risks – The Anthea Way
As it is evident from the inception story, Anthea has grown through partnerships. Whether it is through forming partnerships with suppliers or major stakeholders, partnerships strengthen the fundamentals of the Group, bringing in shared expertise and increased access to markets.
A highly ethical and responsible approach and the adoption of industry best practices in manufacturing the business processes have enabled The Anthea Group to create significant value for their customers and stakeholders.
Moreover, R&D plays a crucial role in developing novel processes for synthesis by optimizing process technologies and expanding product range. The Anthea Group’s in-house research has resulted in several new products being introduced in the market over the years. Here, the patent portfolio is a testament to the R&D practices, adding significant value to this Company’s product offerings.
Demand for The Anthea Group’s products was high even during the current Covid-19 crisis as these go into soaps, detergents, sanitizers etc., and their primary manufacturing plants were restarted in early April under essential services. As per the mandate by local authorities, the Company have put in place work from home for individual employees and also ensured under 30% staff strength in the corporate office. In the production facilities, employees work in shifts. Also, they are required to follow social distancing norms, wearing PPEs at all times and avoid groups or everyday gatherings during lunch hour or breaks. Daily temperature checks and updating of ‘Aarogya Setu’ app is mandatory. Besides, employees are encouraged not to turn up for work in case they are not feeling well. The office space is regularly sanitized, especially surfaces which come in contact frequently.
The Management of Resources
The Anthea Group manufactures speciality synthetic chemicals using a range of catalytic and non-catalytic reactions, in continuous and batch manufacturing processes. The products are made to exacting specifications which are typically at par or better than the competing products.
Furthermore, The Anthea Group have effluent treatment plants to treat wastewater generated in the manufacturing process. As they are located in industrial zones, the treated effluent is sent to the common effluent plant for further processing. The hazardous waste is sent to common hazardous waste treatment storage and disposal facilities.
All employees are considered as being part of the Anthea Family, who have come together to make an extraordinary impact on Customers and other stakeholders in the field of speciality chemicals. The Anthea Group and all its members value Innovation, Integrity, Excellence and Teamwork (to our Customers, to the nation and to each other) and strive to live by these values.
Anthea Group is committed to supporting socially responsible initiatives and actions which contribute to society and improve the living conditions of communities.
Anthea Group participated in a study with the National Association for the Blind, to determine whether visually impaired people had a superior sense of smell, which could qualify them for job opportunities in the fragrance industry. The results were overwhelmingly positive, leading to setting up of a course (COFVI) in odour discrimination, in a college in Mumbai.
The milestones and achievements of The Anthea Group include Establishment of Anthea Aromatics in 1991, Joint venture with DRT, France, establishing DRT-Anthea Aroma Chemicals in 2008, Developing a patented process for the manufacture of synthetic Piperonal (Heliotropin), Developing a patented process for the manufacture of Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO), Investment by ICICI Venture, the asset management arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ICICI Bank in 2016, Investment in Catàsynth Speciality Chemicals by Solvay Chemicals and Plastics Holding B. V. in 2020.
The Anthea Group further plans to launch new product offerings in the F&F, Pharmaceutical Intermediate and Agrochemical space. They even plan to set up a new manufacturing facility for Anthea in Mangalore Special Economic Zone, for which the environment clearance is currently being obtained.