Solvay SA has released more details about its plan to split into two publicly traded companies.
Brussels-based Solvay announced those plans in early 2022. On June 16, officials said that the company making "essential" materials will continue to operate as Solvay, while the company making specialty materials will be called Syensqo.
Officials previously said that Solvay's plastics and composites businesses will be in the specialty firm, Syensqo. They added on June 16 that Syensqo "will be a science company of explorers who seek unexpected perspectives, enable breakthrough innovations and explore the future of science." The new firm also "develops innovative, value-added solutions that support a more sustainable world."
Syensqo "will play a key role" in the future of clean mobility, by making the next generation of EV batteries possible and by advancing green hydrogen and thermoplastic composites, officials said. The new firm "will bring about breakthroughs in bio-based solutions, natural ingredients, circular solutions, and more."
Businesses in Syensqo include Specialty Polymers, Composites, Technology Solutions and Oil & Gas, as well as growth platforms in batteries, green hydrogen, thermoplastic composites, renewable materials and biotechnology. Those businesses generated sales of approximately 7.9 billion euros ($8.6 billion) in 2022.
The new Solvay company — with 2022 sales of 5.6 billion euros ($6.1 billion) — "will carry on the legacy of mastering the elements that are essential for a sustainable world," officials said. The firm "links back to its founders who mastered the soda ash process by achieving a technological breakthrough …which was a major step forward in terms of sustainability."
The new Solvay will make soda ash, peroxides, silica and similar products.
"Solvay has a 160-year legacy that will be passed on for generations to come," CEO Ilham Kadri said. "The names of our new companies reflect this perfectly."
The split is expected to be completed in December. Syensqo will have underlying EBITDA of 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion), with Solvay having 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in that category.
When the split was announced, officials said that the move "is designed to sharpen strategic focus, optimize growth opportunities and build the foundation for the future." Kadri added at the time that the plan "represents a pivotal moment in our journey to transform and simplify Solvay. … Notwithstanding the challenges of the current global environment, we are confident that pursuing this plan would enable us to create compelling value for shareholders over the long term."
Globally, Solvay has almost 100 production sites and employs more than 23,000. Plastics-related sites include ones making polysulfones in Marietta, Ohio; composites in Piedmont, S.C.; composite tape in Anaheim, Calif,; fluoropolymers in Tavaux, France; and Changshu, China; and polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and other specialty resins in Alpharetta, Ga.
Solvay has confirmed or announced several plastics-related expansions since announcing the split. In May 2022, the firm said it had increased capacity for long-fiber compounds in Belgium and had expanded a U.S. research and development center.
The investment in more capacity for Xencor-brand long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) compounds was made at Solvay's plant in Oudenaarde. The R&D expansion took place in Alpharetta, Ga. Officials described Xencor as "one of the key pillars" in Solvay's lightweighting portfolio, which also includes short-fiber compounds and continuous carbon-fiber composites.
In June 2022, Solvay officials said the firm doubled production capacity for Solef-brand polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) at its plant in Changshu, China. They added that the expansion was needed because of rapid growth in electric and hybrid vehicles, which is driving record demand for PVDF. The fluoropolymer is used as a binder and a separator coating in lithium-ion batteries.
September 2022 saw Solvay announce plans to boost production of Amodel-brand materials by 15 percent in Augusta, Ga. Officials said that the increase for Amodel polyphthalamide (PPA) "facilitates production of innovative and more sustainable grades that offer a reduced CO2 footprint."
Most recently, in October 2022, Solvay opened a research center along with the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University. The Manufacturing Innovation Center at WSU in Wichita, Kan., is dedicated to "enabling the future of flight" through advances in composite technologies. The center is located within NIAR's Advanced Technologies Lab for Aerospace Systems.