Arkema, chemical specialties, innovative chemistry
Arkema is holding world leading positions on 90% of its business portfolio. Arkema’s strategy is based on innovation, an increased presence in the emerging markets and targeted acquisitions.
Arkema, France’s leading chemicals producer, benefits from strong competitive advantages. This was the outcome of a strategy which for six years has been focused on growth and innovation. This strategy has transformed Arkema into a specialty chemicals player.
By 2016, the Arkema group is aiming to become one of the global leaders in this field and to generate sales of €8 billion, i.e. an annual growth rate of 6%.
What exactly are specialty chemicals?
Specialty chemicals are different from commodity chemicals due to their higher added value, lower tonnages and the fact that there are few players on the world markets.
Specialty chemicals target niche markets and provide specific functionalities and performances. These products are the result of an intensive R&D process.
Significant shift in Arkema's portfolio of activities
Arkema’s financial resources and financial structure will enable it to continue its development through external growth.
As a result of the 2011 acquisition of Total’s speciality resins, Arkema became one of the world’s major producers of coating materials and additives.
In 2012, the Group realized two other major acquisitions: the Seppic’s alkoxylates business and two Chinese companies specialized in biosourced chemicals, Casda Biomaterials and HiPro Polymers.
Since its IPO in 2006, acquisitions and divestments by the Arkema group have each totaled €1.6 billion. As a result, nearly 50% of its portfolio of activities has changed.
Arkema, which recently divested its vinyl business, reorganized its activities into three main business segments:
Expansion in Asia and other higher growth regions
The Arkema group plans to generate 30% of its revenue by 2016 in higher growth regions.
Arkema established its largest industrial platform in the world in Changshu, to the north of Shanghai. This platform includes 7 production units: organic peroxides, specialty polyamides, fluorogases HCFC-22 and HFC-125, PVDF fluoropolymers, and rheology additives.
In 2013, a new R&D center opened on the Changshu site.
In Malaysia, at Kerteh, a world-size industrial platform for thiochemicals and the production of methionine is under construction, in partnership with the South Korean firm CJ CheilJedang.
The geographical re-balancing of Arkema’s activities has resulted in a proportional decrease of the European market. The percentage represented by Europe in total revenue fell to nearly 40% in 2012, down from 60% in 2005. The markets in the United States and Asia, which have grown steadily for five years, were the beneficiaries of this decline.
However, more than half of the Arkema group’s investments are made in France, where it maintains a significant industrial presence. Major projects are in progress on the sites of Carling, Lacq and Jarrie to serve the European market.
Sustained invesment policy
Since 2006, Arkema has invested €2 billion.
Innovation at the heart of the change
Arkema’s growth is based on a constant and unrelenting innovation process to develop new product lines in the field of specialty chemicals.
Two-third of the innovation efforts focus on sustainable development and target five key areas for the future :
- renewable energy
- water purification
- lightweight materials
- biosourced chemicals
- organic electronics
For example, in the field of fluoropolymers, 7% of total annual revenue is allocated to the development of new applications, especially in the areas of photovoltaics, lithium-ion batteries and water filtration.
Ambition 2016 - 2020
Arkema is now entering a new phase of more accelerated growth. Our goals: a revenue of €8 billion in 2016 and a balanced three-way distribution by business segment and by region.
The Arkema’s roadmap for getting there:
- accelerate our growth in high-performance materials through sustainable development innovations
- to continue targeted acquisitions in two priority areas, advanced materials and downstream acrylic
- to strengthen our presence in faster-growing countries, taking a diversified approach to China, India, the Middle-East and Brazil.
Beyond 2016, Arkema’s rate of growth will remain very steady. We expect to post revenue of €10 billion and an EBITDA margin of nearly 17 % by 2020.