A transformation to better serve our customers
Who are we?
Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, committed to developing chemistry which addresses key societal challenges and improves sustainable mobility and resource efficiency.
Today, the Group is more sustainable, profitable, innovative, specialized, and global. So where does it stand today compared to five years ago? Watch the video and find out:
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the pace of change in the world has accelerated dramatically as new materials and technologies transform the way society operates. The change has culminated in a profound transformation of the business.
Solvay has changed: more global, more specialty
Our environment is changing fast
Volatility and geopolitical uncertainty are the "new normal"
- Voters reject traditional political landscape, leading to unprecedented election outcomes
- Major trade agreements are being challenged (EU, NAFTA)
- Tension persists or worsens in armed conflict areas
Digitalization is disrupting all existing models
Digitalization estimated to improve chemical industry profitability by 9 to 16% (source: McKinsey)
Sadara is building fully digital Chemical Company from scratch
Chemical sector transforming fast
- Profound business remodeling: portfolio reshuffling and intense mergers & acquisition activity
- Emergence of new focused companies (either commodities or specialties). Focused players have the strongest value creation
- Peers out perform Solvay in terms of EBITDA growth, cash generation and return on investment.
Thanks to the acquisition of new enterprises and complementary technologies, and the divestment of others, our profile has evolved into global multi-specialty chemicals. That has seen the Group’s focus shift from traditional, large volume, and cyclical products towards advanced materials and specialty chemicals tailored to the needs of specific markets and customers.
Solvay’s portfolio transformation has brought the Group new business in cutting-edge international sectors including aerospace and smart devices. The new and existing customers we supply in these markets have evolved their ways of working and now require:
- Rapid technological innovation
- Top-tier talent
- Personalized service
- Faster response time
Customers expect top-class, personalized service, and the latest technological advances delivered as quickly as possible so they can outperform their competition. By adapting our way of working, the Group can devote more time and energy to meeting their needs. This will mean even more opportunities to generate long-term growth and contribute to a more sustainable world.
Why are we transforming ourselves?
To complete its profound transformation into an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, Solvay presented plans to align its organization worldwide through a project to simplify the way of working and to optimize and concentrate some of Solvay’s European research and innovation (R&I) activities.
Between 2012 and 2017, the Group dramatically changed and upgraded its portfolio with high-growth, high-value businesses to create new opportunities in the global marketplace. But Solvay’s organization has not yet fully adapted to its new scope, extended client base, or the changed global marketplace: 2/3rd of our activities are new and where not in the Group perimeter 6 years ago.
The changes we want to implement are designed to bridge that gap and turn the Group into a simpler, more agile, and outward-looking organization. It will also open up the way we work and deliver the innovative technologies that customers and society are asking for.
Upgraded innovation capabilities
To organize for the future and align the business to its new scope, we are planning to upgrade part of our European innovation capabilities and to consolidate our business and support activities which are scattered across four locations in Belgium and in France today. The profound transformation of our business portfolio has significantly reduced the Group’s activities in those two countries. As a consequence, Solvay plans to relocate the R&I, support, and business activities performed in Aubervilliers, and most of the activities carried out in Paris, principally to Lyon and, to a lesser extent, Brussels.
Concentrating the bulk of its French R&I in Lyon, already Solvay’s largest R&I site, will involve creating a new Innovation and Technology Center. Here, some 900 employees will benefit from the region’s international innovation and scientific ecosystem and strong chemical industry presence.
R&I activities in Brussels will be expanded into advanced materials science as part of an overall project to revamp the Group’s headquarters. Creating a more collaborative work environment will also draw partners to the Solvay Campus and foster open innovation.
There will be a four-year transition period during which the Group will concentrate R&I activities into these centers.