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ANTI-POLLUTANTS AND INDUSTRIAL SAFETY AIRBANK STRENGTHENS ITS POSITION ON THE WORLD MARKETS
The sinking of the Costa cruise-liner, the discharge of oil into the River Lambro near Milan in Lombardy: two events recently in the news which involved the use of products created by Airbank (www.airbank.it), a company which has forged ahead on the market to become an Italian leader in the field of anti-pollution systems and industrial safety. The firm is based in Piacenza, the productive heartland of Emilia-Romagna, and consists of fifteen employees and three administrators. It has asserted itself on overseas markets without any of the timidity usually shown by newcomers, fully determined to realize its pre-set goals and to ensure it is both visible and valued. We asked the company’s marketing director, Raffaele Pollini, what he thought were their strongest points, which markets they were interested in and what in particular the future holds for Airbank.
Mr. Pollini, what do you think is your major strength: the aspect your clients value most and which most typifies your company?
Our main strength is undoubtedly the fact that in addition to selling products - clearly the main objective of our business - we also provide a consultancy service for our clients. This form of support is very important, especially when lesser-known products are involved.
Are there any products that you would describe as leading-edge?
Our leading edge products are especially our absorbent agents (in powder, granules and other forms) which enable the separation of oil from water.
Your anti-pollutants for use at sea have excited a lot of interest: can you explain how they work?
It might be easier to explain how these products function by giving some practical examples. For instance, there was the wreck of the Costa Concordia, where we were asked for our assistance, or the pollution incident involving the River Lambro. First, we put some absorbent barriers in place to localize the polluted area, then we employ some absorbent, neutralizing products, and finally we apply dispersants or agents that disintegrate hydrocarbons in water, and these break up any hydrocarbon residue left on the surface.
How do you operate in foreign markets?
We make use of local distributors for our operations abroad, and we rely on them to promote our products and support our clients. In particular, we have already been active for some time in Portugal, and we are soon going to extend into countries which are “close” to it language-wise. In addition, we have our sights set on Poland, Turkey, France and Spain, where we conducted research into the anti-pollution market which produced some very encouraging results.
Can you point to any markets which you think might offer interesting opportunities in the future?
For example, there are the countries of North Africa, and in general all places with large oil deposits.
And what does the future hold for Airbank?
With our partner company, we are working on a product which is essentially a mixer: that is to say, it allows you to mix products with two components. We are sure it will be very well received by the pharmaceutical industry, amongst others.