LUCIO Tan is known for many of his business. Yet it is not as commonly recognized that underlying many of his interests, is a true passion for science.
In college at Far Eastern University, he took a course in Chemical Engineering. His first business ventures included the production of transistor radios. After that, he went into trading chemicals and industrial ingredients.
An early break for the young entrepreneur came when he invested in a glycerin plant—a business that lives on to this day: Himmel Industries.
Founded in 1960, Himmel Industries Inc. manufactures printing inks and flavors or fragrances. It supplies organic and inorganic chemicals for various industries, such as textile, rubber, paint, ink, glue, adhesive, leathers, paper, ceramics, food, pharmaceutical, plastic, printing, PVC, cement, and tobacco. Himmel Industries, Inc. provides monomers and polymers, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aromatic chemicals, food and feed chemicals, industrial solvents, plastics, polyurethane foams, perfumes, milkshake delectable flavors, and solvents.
Many of his succeeding endeavors can be traced to his fascination with science: the production of flavors, fragrances, and ink, among others. He also started getting into agribusiness, and manufacturing.
His bigger business are also rooted in science: from manufacturing cigarettes at Fortune Tobacco, to distilling alcoholic drinks at Tanduay and brewing beer at Asia Brewery, to eventually flying the national flag-carrier, Philippine Airlines.
Next time you wonder how Lucio Tan made it, wonder no more. There is science in his success.