Upgrade and specialization

The last decade witnessed an intense transformation of the Group’s profile. The divestment of the pharma business and the acquisition of Rhodia in 2010-2011 kicked-off a radical process of metamorphosis into a specialty chemicals and advanced materials company.

 

Major deals in a few years' time

Led by its CEO Christian Jourquin, in 2009 Solvay sold its pharmaceutical activities to Abbott and eventually used the proceeds to finance the friendly takeover of the French chemical company Rhodia. The acquisition would eventually add to Solvay’s global footprint 65 production sites in 19 different countries, sales subsidiaries in many more and five research centers across the globe. Rhodia brought strengths in the consumer goods and automotive markets, as well as leading positions in many new sectors. In 2012, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Rhodia’s CEO, succeeded Christian Jourquin as the head of Solvay. It marked the first time in the Group’s history that the company would be led by a CEO who had built his career at first outside the company.

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An impulse for "green" innovation

Between 2004 and 2016 Solvay has been a primary sponsor of the Solar Impulse project, led by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. The goal was to build an airplane that could fly around the world, day and night, using only solar energy. Solvay contributed extensively to the development through its research efforts, and its fluoropolymers and engineering plastics for batteries, photovoltaic cells, and lightweight constructive parts. (Copyright: Solar Impulse/Stéphane Gros.)

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Visual identity evolves

Up to 2013, the visual identity of Solvay evolved quite softly. Unveiled in January 2013, the Group's new logo is one of the most visible signs of its transformation. The iconic "S" and blue are clearly tied to Solvay’s history, while "Asking more from chemistry", the new signature, sums up its vision to be a model of sustainable chemistry through continuous improvement, operational excellence and accountability in the exercise of its activities.

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Reinventing itself … once again

Solvay underwent a breakthrough transformation between 2012 and 2017 making up to 50 acquisitions and divestments. Today, the Group is more sustainable, profitable, innovative, specialized, and global.

 

Becoming a major player in composites for a cleaner mobility

The acquisition of the American company Cytec in 2015 was the largest ever,  necessitating the first capital increase since the transformation of Solvay into a public company in 1967. Cytec previously was the chemical division of a widely diversified group called American Cyanamid, founded in 1907. It was spun off as an independent company in 1993 and specialized in composite technologies and mining chemicals. Thanks to this deal, Solvay further positioned itself as a leader in lightweighting materials for large customers in the aerospace and automotive industries.

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Diversity at the top

In 2018, Solvay announced the nomination of Ilham Kadri as its first female CEO. In an industry traditionally dominated by men, Solvay strongly believes that diversity of genders, cultures, but also of perspectives and experiences is a key asset for ensuring its permanent re-invention.