NEW YORK — The North American operating environment is in a good position in the eyes of Jack Fortnum, executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill.
In a May 19 presentation at the BMO Capital Markets Farm to Market Conference in New York, Mr. Fortnum offered some perspective on the outlook for the ingredients market, specifically as it pertains to North America. First and foremost, he said he doesn’t see “anything major happening in the industry.”
“There’s no capacity that I’m aware of coming on stream,” he said. “I haven’t heard anybody announce any new capacity, and I really don’t think there would be any, actually. Some people can shift around a little bit of their production capacity into different products and things, but I think the demand side will take it away. I think the key, though, and what we’ve seen, is that the specialties in North America are growing very rapidly.”
Mr. Fortnum pointed out that North America includes Mexico. An important distinction considering that country continues to grow both on the core and the specialty components side. Much of this growth is due to an increase in the middle class in Mexico, he said.
“They have their issues down in Mexico in terms of some of the political turmoil,” Mr. Fortnum said. “But it’s got the neighbor of the United States, which is balancing some of that. And they continue to drive growth and economic prosperity down there. And we see Mexico continuing to be a very, very solid business for us in our network of countries. And so that growth alone absorbs some of the capacity utilization.”
He added that the food trends in North America are catching up to Europe to a certain extent.“It’s interesting because what we’re finding is the specialties are starting to accelerate even more in North America as people reformulate,” Mr. Fortnum said. “Our business is one in which we sell to … the small customers, the large customers, the multinational customers. We love them all, but you will find that a large part of the smaller- and medium-sized customers do have very good growth rates in terms of their business.”