Plastic compounders need to prepare for rapidly changing world where customer demands will evolve differently in developed, emerging markets over next ten years, A. Schulman COO tells industry gathered at conference in Barcelona, Spain

AKRON, Ohio , November 16, 2011 (press release) – Plastic compounders need to prepare for a further rapidly changing world where customer demands will evolve differently in the developed and emerging markets over the next 10 years, according to Bernard Rzepka, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Europe, Middle East, Africa for A. Schulman, Inc. (Nasdaq-GS: SHLM).

Rzepka spoke yesterday at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) EUROTEC™ 2011 conference in Barcelona, Spain. His presentation, titled "Compounding 2021 – How to Grow in a Decade of Uncertainty," focused on the challenges and opportunities compounders can expect to face in the global markets through 2021.

"We are seeing a number of long-term trends indicating that the developed and developing regions of the world will continue to change quite differently from each other," Rzepka said. "For example, there will be a greater proportion of younger people in developing countries while the populations of developed countries are becoming older and wealthier. Compounders must understand these differences and use that knowledge to adapt constantly. They need to be flexible enough to ensure their products and services provide added value for customers in the context of their particular markets and regions. Sales, marketing, R&D and operations should act locally and regionally, but all key activities should be coordinated globally."

Rzepka showcased several innovative A. Schulman products designed to provide added value and features aligned with the lifestyle and industry trends in a variety of growing markets, such as Schulablend® for coffeemakers, Polybatch® for greenhouses, Schulamid® for manhole covers and Icorene® powders for rotomolded products.

"At A. Schulman, we have created a culture that ensures plenty of interaction with all of our stakeholders and a focus on understanding and reacting to current and future customer needs," Rzepka said. "While the changes over the next 10 years will be constant and often unpredictable, we must remember that the customer will always be king."

About A. Schulman, Inc.

Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, A. Schulman is a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins. These materials are used in a variety of consumer, industrial, automotive and packaging applications. The Company employs about 3,000 people and has 35 manufacturing facilities globally. A. Schulman reported net sales of $2.2 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2011. Additional information about A. Schulman can be found at

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