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Solvay

Created in 1863, Solvay is a global company driven by proud and committed chemists. With our historical anchorage in Europe, our products serve diversified markets worldwide, from consumer goods to energy, with one main aim – to improve quality of life and customer performance.

The drive to achieve our aim has resulted in 90 percent of our revenue being generated from businesses that are among the top three global leaders in their field.

History

150 years ago, Ernest Solvay discovered a new process for manufacturing sodium carbonate using sea salt, ammonia and carbonic acid. In 1863, the young chemist filed his first patent and, with his brother Alfred Solvay, built the first plant near Brussels.

Beginning in 1870, Solvay embarked on rapid international expansion, building plants in England, Germany, Russia, and the United States. In 1900, the Solvay process represented 95% of the world soda production.

The Group survived both World Wars, thanks to its family shareholder base and jealously guarded manufacturing secrets. And by the early 1950s, Solvay diversified and resumed our global expansion.

Come 2008, Solvay divested its Pharmaceuticals branch to focus on two areas: Chemicals and Plastics.

In 2011, Solvay launched a successful friendly takeover bid for Rhodia, a French chemical company.

In 2013, the Group, now radically transformed, began a new chapter in its history.

Strategy

We want to find answers and respond to the challenges of increasingly scarce resources, a growing population, climate change, and sustaining health and well-being. Our vision is to lead the way in reshaping the global chemical industry and develop a model of chemistry that will address these crucial issues while continuing to drive value creation and profitable growth.
Our vision will be realized by:

  • Imagining and producing increasingly innovative solutions
  • Committed employees and multinational talents
  • Simplifying and decentralizing management structure
  • Combining operational excellence and continuous improvement
  • Expanding to fast growing markets
  • Clearly defining priorities