Advanced Organic Materials (AOM) was founded in 2003 as an investment between two families. “We wanted to manufacture a product with added value, that would unite the knowledge of the founders of the chemical industry with the agricultural sector”, says AOM’s Commercial Director, Ezequiel Abad, who joined the company eight years ago and is part of one of the founding families. His brother Alejandro is currently the General Manager.
As for the company’s beginnings, Abad says that although they had access to certain raw materials (in Argentina) and the knowledge of how to set up industrial plants, they did not know the specific market for tocopherols, natural phytosterols and vitamins.
“When you start from scratch, you throw yourself into a series unknowns. The entrepreneur is much more adventurous than the traditional businessman”, confesses the Commercial Director. Although they were entering a global market where there were already large established companies, there were niche opportunities both geographically and market-wise. However, that did not intimidate them and they decided to take the risk. In addition, they had two competitive advantages in their favor: the chemical and industrial know-how and easy access to raw materials.
AOM’s raw material is a by-product of the vegetable oil refining process called deodorizer distillate (DOD), which then undergoes a complex extraction and purification process to obtain natural vitamin E, tocopherols and phytosterols. Transporting DOD over long distances is costly given that almost 80 percent of the product is worthless. In other words, the percentage of tocopherols and phytosterols in the raw material is low. This gave the company a strong foothold in South America due to their easy access to the DOD. It is worth noting that AOM’s business today has gone beyond those local raw materials by incorporating other sources found in different parts of the world to accompany the development of new products and markets.
“We started selling semi-finished products to companies that are already in the business and have the finished product. Then we were able to manufacture finished products such as tocopherols and phytosterols”, explains Abad.
AOM supplies the food industry and the nutritional supplement sector, either by selling directly to manufacturers of finished products or to intermediaries who prepare formulas or premixes of different vitamins. In these cases the products they sell are vitamin E, natural antioxidants and phytosterols. On the other hand, their clients within the animal food industry and the cosmetic industry are constantly growing.
The company currently employs 110 people, with a top percentage of highly-qualified personnel. They have two production plants —one in Pilar (Argentina) and another in Valencia (Spain)—, and an administrative headquarters in Toledo. They also have a logistics partner on the outskirts of Madrid.
The recent inauguration of the production plant in Valencia is the fruit of 15 years of enormous effort during which they have been expanding their product portfolio while adapting quickly to changes in the market and the demands of clients and consumers.
For more details on AOM’s evolution, read the second part of the company’s history in the next blog post.