Solvay for more sustainable growth

Solvay releases today its 2018 Annual Integrated Report. A comprehensive account of the progress we made last year, entering in the effective results of the decision we made, the path we took, and constant commitment to growth shared with our customers and key stakeholders. 

In 2018, Solvay continued the extensive transformation of our portfolio to deliver solutions in sustainable mobility and resource efficiency to play their part in meeting the key challenges for our planet.

2018 was a year of growth. Our solid results, supported by significant growth in volumes, put us on track to fully realizing the mid-term objectives. Cash Flow generation was strong and contributed to further deleveraging the Group’s balance sheet. Solvay’s robust operational performance, as well as its ability to optimize financial charges, are reflected in the EPS’ double-digit growth. This allows us to continue including our shareholders in the Group’s growth, once again recommending an increase of more than 4.2% in the dividend. 

Today, Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, with a balanced presence on all continents focusing on sustainable mobility and resource efficiency. As a result, 90% of our innovative portfolio ranks us among the top 3 leaders and consists of products from activities that constitute our growth engines responding to customers major names in automotive, aerospace and electronics part of our 11 strategic markets.

Our ambition is to be a leading contributor to the reshaping of the global chemical industry. This is a success of which we can rightly be proud. 

 

Our strategic governance:
Obsessed with customer-centricity

In 2018, we successfully concluded a cycle of our history, delivering the mid-term objectives set in 2016. A pivotal year, during which the Group governance played its full role, with the Board of Directors reaffirmed Solvay’s priorities: further accelerate the transformation to unlock the Group’s full potential.

Ascribed in such transformation, Ilham Kadri is the new CEO of the Group.

I am honored to join the Solvay community as the Group’s 11th CEO. My excitement is shared by our 24,500 highly engaged employees looking forward to embarking into a new chapter of our company’s transformation. Sharper customer focus, innovation, collaboration, disciplined capital allocation and a clear sense of purpose will drive Solvay’s new growth trajectory.

Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay

Solvay also delivered its medium-term extra-financial objectives. Half of the Group’s activities now qualify as “sustainable solutions”, with respect to both their impact on end-markets and their manufacturing footprint. 

Solvay has exceeded its initial greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and it has thus raised its ambitions to reduce CO2 targets in absolute terms.

 

Collaboration, our key enabler 

Customers are at the heart of our organization and culture. 2018 was decisive in simplifying and streamlining our organization and processes to make Solvay more agile, more outward-looking, with a sharper focus on our customers’ needs across the Group, from the Board to the shop floor. 

Solvay builds on its ability to understand its customers and forge long-lasting relationships to co-create innovation, from science to solutions that meet their challenges.

We aim to take customer focus and collaboration ever further, empowering fruitful partnerships and investments, accelerating innovation in 2019 and beyond. 

 

What's the engine of our growth?

 

Open innovation 

Our journey for sustainable mobility and resource efficiency 

The seeds of Solvay’s passion for innovation were sown by our founder, Ernest Solvay, and continue to flourish across the Group today. Our customers trust us for our scientific excellence and our extensive, yet balanced, portfolio of technologies. 

These are just two of the assets that enable us to create and innovate, bringing society sustainable solutions that address the issues of the future, with a focus on internal and external teamwork that facilitates breakthrough innovation.

We have decided to put in place a process to enhance our ability to deliver breakthrough innovation, focusing on exploring new territories in clean mobility and resource efficiency to create options for future growth, being jointly governed by R&I and businesses.

Nicolas Cudré-Mauroux, Group General Manager of Solvay Research & Innovation

In 2018 we span our efficiency thanks to our dynamic innovation portfolio management. A healthy innovation pipeline is a priority for Solvay and we use verifiable data to assess all projects on sustainability, the probability of success, value and availability of internal resources. 

That means our innovations are aligned with market needs from Proof of Concept on. We use our Sustainable Portfolio Management (SPM) tool to carry out a full analysis of all R&I projects at every one of their key stages. That ensures we select only those that offer proven sustainability.

With our comprehensive vision, 2018 was an essential year to develop forefront projects to accelerate innovation in our core R&Is worldwide, with the launch our new Headquarters in Brussels together with a new Lyon Innovation & technology center and Business Center.

 

Caring for our people

Towards even more inclusive culture

In 2018 we leverage even further new ways of working, fostering collaboration and empowerment, and focusing firmly on our customers. 

Our people are the lifeblood of our Group. And in a fast-changing world, disrupted by
digital, they are the key enablers of Solvay’s success. 

We seek to create a climate of trust and collaboration that fosters empowerment, puts customers at the forefront of our actions, encourages smart risk-taking, creates a sense of inclusion.Through policies that promote diverse and inclusive company culture, through facilitating mobility, training and development opportunities. 

Last year, our pull of 24,500 talents was formed by more than 100 nationalities with enriching cultural diversity in background, gender, and age. By leveraging digital technologies we shifted to offer each employee individualized solutions for training and career development

For all of them, we also tailored Solvay Cares: a minimum level of social protection program which allows enjoying benefits related to maternity leave, medical care, life and disability insurance, that would not otherwise be available.