Solvay SA is one of the top ten manufacturers of chemicals in the world. It produces and markets to an international client base a wide range of plastics and chemical products, utilized by global industries, including: electronics, agriculture, consumer goods, energy, automotive, construction, and environmental. Solvay dominates the market in most sectors, with its closest competitors being Akzo Nobel N.V., Polyone Corporation and ARKEMA. Solvay Chemicals International, one of the units of Solvay SA competes with BASF SE and Ineos Group Holdings SA for the top spot in the world.
Headquartered in Neder-Over-Heembeek, Brussels, Belgium, Solvay has more than 110 manufacturing facilities located in 55 countries around the world. Its largest market is Europe, with strong performance in North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. 26,000 employees work for Solvay SA and it operates 15 R&I Centers around the globe.
Of leading international corporations today, Solvay may be among the oldest. It was founded in 1863 by Ernest Solvay. Ernest Solvay discovered a new process for manufacturing sodium carbonate. Along with a small group of close associates, including his brother, Ernest gave birth to Solvay, a company that would span more than a century, adapting and expanding to a changing world. Emerging at the dawn of a new industrial revolution, Ernest Solvay was perfectly positioned to launch his company to first place among its industrial colleagues. By 1900, Solvay had already captured a large share of the world market—95 percent of the soda ash utilized was manufactured by using the Solvay process. In the early 1950s, Solvay began to diversify and further expanded its global presence.
Solvay’s business strategic plan focuses heavily on environmental sustainability and creative ways to expand customer and consumer markets.
The Corporation operates in five global business units: Performance Chemicals; Advanced Formulations; Functional Polymers; Advanced Materials; and Corporate & Business Services.
1. The Performance Chemicals segment is developing soda ash for the chemicals, glass and detergent markets; peroxide for household, hygienic, pulp, agriculture, water treatment and food production markets; acetate tow for cigarette filters; and biochemicals.
2. The Advanced Formulations unit includes four divisions:
- Novecare, which is a global leader in the production of specialty surfactants, polymers, guar, amines and phosphorous derivatives. It develops cutting-edge technologies that impact the behavior of fluids, giving them properties that enable them to be used in paints, shampoos, lubricants, detergents, mining and oil extraction and plant protection.
- Coatis manufactures phenol-based products and derivatives and designs oxygenated solvents for a world-wide market, with a special focus on Latin America. Synthetic resins produced by Coatis are utilized in construction materials and in foundries.
- Aroma Performance produces the largest amount of diphenols and derivatives in the world. It designs vanillin, vanilla flavors and ethyl-vanillin for the food industry, and monomer stabilizers for the petrochemical industry.
- Technology Solutions is combining all the above businesses with the company’s phosphorous business line to develop the most leading-edge product possible.
3. The Functional Polymers unit is focused on producing polyamides and intermediates, and high-performing plastics used by the construction, electrical, transportation, industrial goods, electronic and transportation industries.
4. The Advanced Materials unit is focused on developing high-performance polymers, such as, high-barrier polymers, aromatic polymers, cross-linkable compounds and fluorinated polymers, as well as, specialty materials. These materials are used by the automotive, aerospace, healthcare, electronics, batteries, oil & gas and electronics industries.
5. Corporate & Business Services houses all of the corporate functions of the Solvay.