“Concentration: Fashion or Necessity”
The EPCA’s 35th Annual Meeting was held in Monte Carlo on 29 September - 3 October 2001. In the opening proceedings, EPCA President Rein Willems of Shell Chemicals expressed deepest sympathy, on behalf of the Association, to all those impacted by the tragic loss of life following the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11.
It was important, he said, for the meeting to proceed and for life and business to continue, as much as possible, as before in order to thwart the aims of the perpetrators of such acts. Inevitably, some people were unable to make it to Monte Carlo as a result of recent events. “Nevertheless,” said Rein Willems, “EPCA is still the biggest gathering of the chemical industry in Europe. The number of delegates attending the 35th Annual Meeting is the same as the figure for the 1999 meeting in Vienna, surpassed only by the record-breaking number which attended the 2000 event.”
Rein Willems introduced the theme of the meeting - “Concentration: Fashion or Necessity” - as one which stirs up strong and opposing views, both within the industry and amongst industry watchers. The chemical and other industries have embarked down the mergers and acquisition trail in recent years, with mixed results. EPCA had brought together three prominent speakers to look at the subject from their unique vantage points. Each of the speakers, said Rein Willems, has considerable experience of the company consolidation process and their views, taken in total over the two days of the meeting, will provide delegates with food for thought and an idea of the optimum route for their own companies to take.
In handing over proceedings to the moderator, Michael Buerk, the BBC TV news anchorman, Rein Willems said that delegates to previous EPCA meetings are familiar with Michael’s affable yet probing style. “We are lucky to have Michael Buerk with us once again,” said Rein Willems. “We can be sure that not only will proceedings run smoothly but also that our speakers will be asked the questions most relevant to the needs of EPCA members.”