Sharpening customer focus: Novus
In September 2018, Novus announced a new regional structure which was applied across the company globally. A key aim of the re-organisation was to increase customer focus. Novus World Area Director for the Southeast Asia Pacific (SEAP) region, Dr Von Richard Ebron, shared with eFeedLink the impact of the re-organisation on the region.
eFeedLink: Could you tell us more about the new regional structure of Novus for the SEAP region?

Novus decided to divide Asia into three regions:  North East Asia (China, Korea and Taiwan), South Central Asia (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal), and Southeast Asia Pacific (Oceania, Thailand, IndoChina, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan and Pakistan). Each region is being led by a World Area Director who manages the sales, marketing, key accounts and technical service teams. This move allows Novus to be more customer-centric and enables us to answer the needs of each region with a faster response time. 

In the announcement, four focus areas were highlighted - methionine, organic trace minerals, enzymes and eubiotics. Please share with us your plans for these four focus areas, and the opportunities you foresee in the SEAP region.
As one of the global leaders in methionine, we are committed to supplying our customers for the long term. We recently announced our expansion of ALIMET® feed supplement production capacity in the United States, reinforcing our commitment to provide a consistent methionine source for the animal nutrition industry. We also strengthened our Asia organisation by putting a team in place that is focused on methionine, to better serve our customers.

Our organic trace mineral offerings including MINTREX® and MAAC® chelated trace minerals and ZORIEN® selenium yeast are premium products that optimise the delivery of minerals to the animal for growth and development. This is our outstanding portfolio in the region and our customers are pleased to see benefits when switching to a better mineral source. There is continuing long-term research on Novus minerals on their impact to animals and their progeny. 

For the enzymes range, we continue to see the benefits of CIBENZA® DP100 protease in reducing feed costs based on enhanced digestibility improvements. This is highly critical when animal producers want to optimise diets. The value of this protease has been shown through digestibility trials that clearly separate it from the rest of the market. We will also be seeing the introduction of the latest phytase, CIBENZA® PHYTAVERSE®, in the SEAP market, which will enhance the enzymes solutions that we offer to our partners.

Due to the increasing pressure to grow animals in AGP-free conditions, which is also gaining popularity in Asia, the use of eubiotic solutions will increase.  We have products ranging from organic acid blends and essential oils, which are shown in trials to be effective either as a standalone or in combination, providing a complete solution to our partners.

Novus's business was previously predominantly in methionine hydroxy analogue (HMTBa), but has in the past decade diversified into several areas. Please share with our readers the rationale for this diversification.

This is all happening according to plan. When I joined Novus eight years ago, our sales were predominantly from methionine. Today, we have grown our specialty product business significantly to pave the way to a more sustainable business. We will continue to be a major methionine provider, but with increasing needs to feed the world's growing population, we believe it is important that we offer new solutions that can enhance animal performance and health. Novus invests heavily on research in newer speciality products which allows us to be a major player in the mineral, enzyme, eubiotic and feed quality segments. Especially in an era of reduced dependency on antibiotics, a multidisciplinary solution involving various health and nutrition offerings is required. Our goal is to always be a reliable source of animal nutrition and health and to grow along with our customers.

What comments do you have for our readers regarding the ongoing debate between proponents of DL-methionine and HMTBa?

We have always maintained our position that HMTBa is a preferred source of methionine both in having superior absorption mechanisms inside the animal's body while also possessing acidification properties. Research shows that HMTBa offers optimised carcass yield and condemnation cost as well as superior growth rates. We have been very persistent and consistent in our communication with the industry on our stand and are pleased that most of our customers agree to our information and explanation as we support them with facts based on science.

Novus's ALIMET® plant expansion in the US is due for completion soon. Please provide our readers with an update on this plant expansion and how it would improve Novus's methionine supply to the SEAP region.

As one of the largest suppliers of methionine, we decided to make more investments to ensure continuous and growing supply of methionine for our customers. The new plant, located in Texas, is on track for completion in 2020. This project will increase Novus's production capacity by 120,000 tonnes per year. Being a reliable and effective supplier of methionine to the SEAP region is a key part of Novus's short and long-term strategy, and this expansion will be a step in effectively executing that strategy. We are also looking at more innovative ways of servicing our SEAP customers with some potential improvements in our supply chain capabilities. Even currently, SEAP is a focus market for Novus methionine and we are working very closely with our partners in the region to support and grow the methionine business.

Novus is today a diversified animal nutrition company. Please discuss your different product offerings and the synergy they offer in delivering unified solutions to your customers in the SEAP region.

Animal producers around the world and in SEAP look for improved performance and profitability. One of Novus's most highlighted solution is our organic trace mineral, MINTREX® organic trace minerals, which offers benefits ranging from egg quality and laying productivity improvement for poultry layers and breeders to meat quality enhancement in broilers. MINTREX® and SANTOQUIN® feed preservative (Novus's antioxidant) have shown great benefit on structural integrity and meat quality. Use of MINTREX® copper at optimal feeding rate also complements the performance enhancement programmes for broilers and swine.  

The enzymes and eubiotics portfolio will play an important role, especially as the region is beginning to adapt for AGP removal or reduction, in order to satisfy market needs and also to be sustainable. Our enzymes, CIBENZA® DP100 (protease) and CIBENZA® PHYTAVERSE® (phytase) address rising feed costs due to high raw material prices by helping feed mills and nutritionists in optimising their diets and giving the formulators the flexibility they need to use alternative raw materials to lower costs. Eubiotics, on the other hand, will complement our protease programme, by ensuring that the gut is properly maintained to ensure maximum absorption, with or without the use of antibiotics.

As the topic of antibiotic reduction in farming continues into 2019 for the SEAP region, could you share with our readers the programmes that Novus has for your customers?

Antibiotic reduction will affect production in two ways: 1) Decrease in performance; 2) higher health risk. Our products address these two main problems in an AGP-free or ABF production by focusing on gut health. We recommend that customers follow these three easy steps: 1) Manage the gut environment (with the use of Novus foregut and hindgut acidifiers); 2) improve digestion by optimising diets (use of CIBENZA® DP100 and CIBENZA® PHYTAVERSE®); 3) reduce or eliminate the threat of pathogenic gut microbials (with the use of our essential oils). Novus believes that there is no magic bullet for AGP-free or ABF production, hence our programmes come with different products that will provide the overall solution that the customer will need.

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