Solvay
2019 Annual Integrated Report

Business environment

Market-driven innovation

GRI Disclosures

Solvay’s businesses are closely aligned with the powerful trends driving growth in our end-markets. Our core technologies, skills and expertise have allowed us to build robust positions on seven fast-growing markets, where we hold a number one or two position and where our innovative and competitive solutions can bring value and support our customers in meeting their challenges.

More than half of the Group’s portfolio is now solidly positioned as “Sustainable Solutions” with sales generated on markets related to strong sustainability trends like sustainable mobility and resources efficiency.

The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions created by the Solar Impulse Foundation has awarded seven Solvay strategic products the Efficient Solutions label for their role in protecting people and the environment in a profitable way.

open all

close all

Automotive & Aerospace

Cleaner mobility

Growing concerns about sustainability and stringent regulations on CO2 and particulate emissions are driving the automotive and aerospace industries to develop more sustainable mobility systems. Along with lightweighting, a shift to electric and hybrid vehicles and a strong focus on customer experience, fuel efficiency is a key market driver in automotive. In the aerospace market, today’s drivers include unprecedented customer demand, with 4.3% annual growth in passenger traffic, and a need for advanced solutions to accelerate build rate at a lower cost and produce lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft. At Solvay, we help make transportation cleaner, safer, and more energy-efficient.

read more
trigger

Lightweighting

For lighter vehicles with lower fuel consumption and emissions, composite materials are an innovative alternative to metal and solid plastic structures. Our SolvaLite™ composites are up to 40% lighter than metal and cure much faster than traditional composites. A step-change from traditional composite materials, it also means more efficient, much faster production and enhanced cost effectiveness in high-volume production runs.

Solvay is also uniquely positioned in thermoplastic composites with the best-in-class portfolio in specialty polymers and strong expertise in composite technologies. These materials are expected to play an increasingly important role in meeting growing demand for lighter components and reduced aircraft construction time. From world-leading commercial airplane manufacturers to space exploration programs, Solvay serves the entire aerospace industry, providing innovative aerospace composite solutions from airframes to interiors, electrical, air and fluid systems and propulsion.

Electrification

Batteries with higher energy density, enabling faster charge with greater power and lower cost, are vital to the future of electromobility. Solvay is at the cutting edge of battery innovation with solutions that meet the highest safety, temperature and chemical resistance requirements, and so address the needs of the entire battery system. Our fluorinated materials for advanced lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and our Energain® technologies enable the operation of next generation Li-ion batteries at higher voltage for higher energy density.

Powertrain efficiency

In all types of powertrains, the engine and transmission system offer significant potential for energy efficiency improvements. Our specialty polymers, like our thermoplastics product ranges Amodel® PPA and Ryton® PPS, help to build lighter and so more fuel-efficient internal combustion engines, manage the intense heat of down-sized engines, and develop hybrid electric vehicles that combine gasoline engines and electric motors in order to achieve the best balance of fuel economy and demand on batteries.

Green technologies

Our silica products designed for tire manufacturers can reduce rolling resistance by up to 25%, for 7% lower fuel consumption. Indeed, they make tire gum more consistent and prevent it from heating up, thus decreasing the rolling resistance of tires and keeping them safe for longer. Our latest innovative grade Premium SW is among the cheapest and most efficient ways to cut CO2 emissions from vehicles. Several Solvay solutions, including Autocat® are used in automotive catalytic converters to minimize pollutant emissions while boosting performance.
 

Focus

Precision solutions for aircraft

With our Cycom® range of products, we offer solutions for the most technically challenging composite applications. Cycom® prepregs and resin systems are the industry standard for stiffness, impact resistance and thermal performance. This innovation delivers 10 to 20 times faster manufacturing rates, thus enabling a lower total cost of ownership in line with industry expectations for high volume composite use.
 

Multi-skilled polymer

A high-performance material for Li-ion batteries, our Solef® PVDF has been awarded the Efficient Solutions label by the Solar Impulse Foundation. This polymer is used to manufacture battery components (binders and separators). As a partially fluorinated material, it is particularly stable, for enhanced safety performance. It enables higher voltages and high-temperature resistance – key for electric vehicle batteries – faster charge and fire-resistance.

read less

25

%

of net sales

Mineral Resources & Environment

Affordable resources and environmental protection

Key market drivers in mineral resources and the environment are the growing concerns over sustainability and stringent regulations on CO2 . Solvay’s sustainable solutions for the oil & gas, mining, energy generation and energy storage sectors offer our customers more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly products and services.

read more
trigger

Mining

Today’s mining operations face the dual challenge of maintaining or increasing production and reducing consumption of resources like water and energy. In parallel, the reagents used to extract metals and minerals must meet stringent safety and environmental requirements. Solvay’s specialty mining reagents help our customers meet these challenges and reduce operating costs in the recovery of many metals and minerals. For instance, compared to traditional recovery methods, our Cyanex® reagents significantly reduce production time and natural resource requirements while improving metal yield.

With growing demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries and, therefore, battery metals, the need for copper, a major component in EVs, is increasing. Acorga® copper extractants have a proven track record in the mining industry and are used by the largest copper producing mines in the world.

Oil & Gas

The Oil & Gas industry faces increasing challenges as new offshore fields are discovered in deeper water, requiring longer, heavier and costlier subsea pipes that create logistical challenges. Solvay’s lightweight composite materials can be used to produce pipes that can withstand the extreme conditions of oil & gas applications.

Evolite™ F1050 is a high-performance thermoplastic composite material specially designed for oil & gas. It combines the excellent chemical and temperature resistance of Solef® PVDF with the inherent high strength performance of carbon fiber. It offers both the mechanical reinforcement of steel and lower weight, potentially saving dozens of tons on a single pipe.

Clean technologies

Solvay has developed a range of solutions for renewable energy production. In solar power, our innovations include protective films for photovoltaic panels, and our wind power solutions range from seals and cables to epoxy compounds for wind turbine blades. Our solutions to support air and water treatment and soil remediation, addressing the requirements of more challenging regulations, use filtration, gas separation, absorption, and chemical reactions. Our Capterall®* mineral-based solutions efficiently remove pollutants from wastewater, helping our customers comply with strict regulations.

Focus

High-performance, high sustainability

Mining operations choose the Aerophine® family of reagents for their ability to promote high recoveries and improve selectivity in complex flotation – a technique used to separate minerals – across base and precious metal ores. Aerophine® offers enhanced sustainability over competing reagent chemistries, with reduced dosage rates and enhanced stability. It also avoids the formation of hazardous decomposition products.

A cleaner, safer environment

Solvay’s Solvair®* range treats the gases emitted by multiple industries and municipal activities, such as energy-from-waste incinerator or industrial boilers. One of our solutions, Solvair® Marine, is particularly innovative. This sulfur oxide scrubber system complies with all existing and upcoming regulations, removes 99% of particles, does not release wastewater back to the sea and can be installed without dry docking. It also facilitates residue treatment on land.

*Awarded an Efficient Solutions label by the Solar Impulse Foundation

read less

14

%

of net sales

Healthcare & Consumer Goods

Improving quality of life

Consumer behavior is changing as populations in mature economies age and the middle classes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America grow. Consumers want easy-to-use, multifunctional solutions that are tailor-made, safe and sustainable, offer an enhanced consumer experience, a positive impact on health and well-being and a low impact on the environment. They also want to benefit from the best of digital and enhanced connectivity.

read more
trigger

Healthcare

In healthcare, today’s market drivers are the world’s growing population, advances in treatments and health technologies, high sterilization capabilities and wider healthcare coverage in developing markets.

Solvay’s extensive range of polymers is used in orthopedics, medical devices and equipment, surgical instruments and implantable devices. We are a world leader in thermoplastics used to manufacture dialysis membranes with excellent biocompatibility. Our hydrogen peroxides solutions, used as disinfection and decontamination agents, meet growing demand from the pharmaceutical industry in dialysis and disinfection.

We are also a world leader in High Barrier Polymers for pharmaceutical packaging. Used in blister packaging to protect sensitive pharmaceuticals, they ensure efficacy and extend product shelf life. Solvay products are used in one in every four pharmaceutical blister packs globally.

Consumer Goods

In consumer goods, a growing customer base demanding more natural and bio-based solutions is a key market driver. So too are enhanced performance and convenience, growing demand for personalized and premium products, and digital tools to enable niche brands.

Solvay’s broad portfolio offers innovative, sustainable and competitive polymers and surfactants used in sectors from smart textiles and pulp paper to personal & home care. These include Amni Soul Eco®, the world’s first biodegradable polyamide yarn that decomposes quickly when disposed of in landfills. Another example is Mackadet® OPR 2, a biodegradable, vegetable-derived liquid dispersion that is used to opacify personal care or household products without the need for heat. This product is sulfate free, paraben free and formaldehyde free.

Focus

Fighting infection

The ability to withstand repeated disinfection and steam sterilization is a critical requirement for any material used in reusable medical devices. Engineered for especially harsh environments, Radel® (PPSU) can be steam sterilized for more than a thousand cycles without significant loss of properties. For over 30 years, this remarkably strong polymer has successfully replaced metals in a wide variety of applications, including sterilization cases and trays, surgical and dental instrument handles.

Natural hair care

Our personal care portfolio focuses on clean beauty and most of our products are plant-based. Polycare® Split Therapy is a new split ends repair formulation. Made from natural guar polymers, this technology can be used in shampoos, conditioners and serums, and proves remarkably efficient for repairing damaged hair.

read less

17

%

of net sales

Agro, Feed & Food

Sustainable living and environmental protection

The need to feed a growing global population is the key market driver in agro, feed & food, requiring greater agricultural yields and better resource management. Solvay’s portfolio of innovative solutions supports customers from farmers to food processors, helping them operate responsibly and sustainably.

read more
trigger

Agriculture

Agriculture and the crop protection sector are facing the challenge of using greener solutions to build the future of farming. They must integrate seed treatments and nutrients to boost germination, adding biologicals as a new tool and leveraging data and digital technology as enablers. AgRHO® N50 Protect treats urea fertilizers cost-effectively and sustainably and helps European growers meet regulations limiting volatilization due to urea. We also offer pioneering automation and digital technology, including on-target drift control adjuvants for agricultural spray drones, with our AgRHO® Aero-mate 320.

Feed

Solvay offers a range of highly efficient feed supplements for livestock used to prevent and control disease. They also optimize the flow of nutrients that are essential for animal health. Adding a natural source of sodium, Bicar®Z, to the feed ration of ruminants can improve the health and productive performance of animals. In the aquaculture industry, where parasitic diseases can seriously affect production, Paramove®*, a solution made of oxygenated water, removes sea lice from salmon, leaving only oxygen and water in the environment.

Food

Consumers are demanding healthier, more natural and more convenient food. Solvay is the market reference for vanillin solutions. We offer the food and beverage industry a wide range of products for food preparation, food preservation, healthier living, improved food quality, food safety, and taste enhancement. We also provide materials for safe, reliable and convenient food packaging. Solvay’s High Barrier Polymers (HBP) offer a combined water vapor and oxygen barrier and good heat-sealing properties for protecting fresh, dry and wrapped food.

Focus

A 100% biostimulant seed treatment

Increasing demand and limited extension of cultivated land make safe and cost-effective yield increase crucial to future developments in agriculture. The unique mode of action of Solvay’s AgRHO® S-Boost™* biostimulant stems from proprietary natural polymer technologies using guar beans. When applied to seeds, AgRHO® S-Boost™ stimulates root development and favors water and nutrient uptake in the early growth stages, leading to a healthier plant, secured yields and optimized use of water and agricultural inputs.

Bio-sourced vanillin

Vanillin is the most popular flavor used in foodstuff across the world, yet its availability from the vanilla bean is limited and very expensive. Our Rhovanil® Natural CW is the reference in natural vanillin. Bio-sourced from ferulic acid, a natural organic compound found in non-GMO rice bran, our product meets all global regulations on natural flavoring substances and offers both the vanillin note characteristic of vanilla and the advantage of a natural flavor labeling.

* Awarded an Efficient Solutions label by the Solar Impulse Foundation

read less

12

%

of net sales

Electronics & Electrical

Connectivity and high-performance

Growing demand for hyper-connectivity, the rapid development of 5G and exponential growth of data are key market drivers, resulting in miniaturization, the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), and a need for components that consume less energy. Solvay works closely with electrical and electronic equipment manufacturers to ensure that its advanced materials are fully geared to their needs.

read more
trigger

Displays

Our portfolio offers a new generation of materials for OLED, delivering high-quality diffuse light and potentially flexible displays. Our Cytop® portfolio includes high-purity phosphines derivatives used in the manufacture of quantum dots that allow the most vivid colors and the brightest display, making it possible to produce many more nuances. Our products are used in a variety of ways, acting as precursors to semiconducting materials, ligands, solvents and delivery agents for chalcogens.

Semiconductors and other electronic components

The increased miniaturization, conductivity and complexity of electronic components puts higher demands on materials, especially in terms of high temperature operation and dimensional stability. Our specialty polymers provide high-performance solutions for structural and electronic components. We also have recognized expertise in high purity chemistry for the semiconductor industry. Together, they meet demand on this fast-growing market, driven by data centers, IoT and mobile technology, where customers require materials offering high levels of purity, temperature resistance and chemical resistance.

Smart devices

Today, smart sensing is driving market growth in smart devices and components, including premium smartphones with advanced functionalities such as infinity display, Artificial Intelligence, or 5G. Higher demand for miniaturization, multi-function and enhanced performance is creating opportunities for specialty materials, like Solvay’s Kalix® HPPA. Designed for structural components used in smart mobile electronic devices, this high-performance polyamide provides high strength, rigidity and a high-quality surface finish, along with improved processing.

Focus

Industry leading purity in electronics

The complexity of computer chips, and increasing circuit miniaturization, is driving demand for advanced cleaning solutions to support the production of next generation semiconductors. Solvay is one of only a few companies in the world able to meet the exacting requirements of the leading semiconductor manufacturers. Our ultra-pure Interox® Pico Hydrogen Peroxide, the reference in this market, can eliminate metallic impurities at the scale of a grain of salt on a soccer field.

Purer raw materials for semiconductors

Phosphine gas is essential to the manufacture of electronics where it is used as a dopant for various types of semiconductors and TFT display manufacturing. Our clients depend on Cypure® to support these demanding applications when manufacturing in cleanroom environments and to exacting quality standards. Our phosphine products offer purity levels close to 100%, achieved by rigorous attention to detail at every stage, from manufacturing to transportation.

read less

5

%

of net sales

Building

Longer-lasting Sustainability and energy efficiency

The key market driver for Building is the growing demand for longer-lasting buildings that consume less energy, include safe water management and enhance their users’ well-being. Our solutions focus on increasingly stringent environmental performance certification systems in passive residential and commercial buildings.

read more
trigger

Energy Savings

Buildings represent 40% of the world’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions. We help develop solutions for energy saving triple-glazed windows with soda ash, and for foam wall coverings to maintain comfortable temperatures in near-zero energy housing.

Resource efficiency

As drinking water scarcity becomes a challenge in an increasing number of countries, rainwater is increasingly reused in cities to water plants and trees, calling for large quantities of plastic water and drainage piping and fittings, for which Solvay provides key components. From water piping to solar panel protection, our products contribute to renewable resource efficiency.

We also provide protective films for solar panels that are often placed on the roof of buildings, increasing their efficiency and further reducing the use of non-renewable fossil fuels.

Protection & Safety

Urbanization is a global trend that continues to create increasing demand for high quality, sustainably produced paints and coatings throughout the world. Increased sustainability and added functionality are the major themes in the coatings industry. Solvay offers APE1-free and VOC2-free and Ecolabel products, enabling customers to convert from solvent-borne coatings systems to waterborne formulations, in full compliance with regulatory requirements. This is the case with Solvay’s combination of the Sipomer® PAM and WAM range of additives that offer enhanced sustainability, exceptional corrosion resistance and adhesion to difficult substrates – such as aluminum, glass, wood, plastic or aged alkyd.

Focus

Longer-lasting materials

Our Cyasorb® Cynergy Solutions UV stabilizers prolong the service life of polyolefin plastic-based construction materials, improving their durability by offering optimal performance under severe UV and thermal conditions. Our stabilizers mean plastics can successfully replace traditional materials – such as wood, bitumen and PVC – lowering end-product maintenance costs and enhancing sustainability profiles.

Safer foaming solutions

Solvay Alve-One®* foaming solutions are an innovative generation of high-performance and cost-effective chemical blowing agents, combining efficiency and hazardous-free formulations. Based on 100% safe raw materials, they allow thermoplastics and elastomers producers to achieve the specific properties they need for their plastics, including insulation, strength, and light weight.

1: Alkyl Phenol Ethoxylate
2: Volatile Organic Compounds
* Awarded an Efficient Solutions label by the Solar Impulse Foundation

read less

8

%

of net sales

Industrial Applications

Efficiency and value

Manufacturers must comply with ever-stricter regulations and rely on innovations for more efficient processes and more competitive products. Along with constraints on resources, including reduced energy and water consumption, and increased demand for sustainability, these are all key market drivers. Our materials and solutions help them operate more responsibly and give their products longer lifetimes, creating more sustainable value.

read more
trigger

Industrial & protective coatings

Solvay offers a wide range of binders, solvents, pigments and additives and is constantly developing formulations to provide benefits based on surface modifications: enhanced surface wetting, improved adhesion to substrates, better color development, strong corrosion protection, and resistance to aggressive fluids.

Metal & surface treatment

We create ingredients and formulated products that modify and clean the surface of several metallic and organic substrates, improving the performance of finished products and enhancing their shelf life. With Rhodoclean®, we have expanded our range of low foam and low temperature industrial cleaners.

Industrial equipment

The high demands of industrial equipment require resistance to corrosion, temperature and aggressive chemicals. Solvay has created and formulated specific polymer products that can even replace certain metals under particularly harsh conditions of use. Our solutions offer excellent resistance to UV irradiation, chemicals, fire and abrasion, and have applications in many industries. They are widely used in anti-corrosion applications, such as linings, or in self-supporting constructions like piping.

Sustainable solution for road surfaces

Fluxing agents are an essential part of road construction, temporarily reducing the viscosity of the bitumen to improve ease of use. Solvay’s InnRoad™ Protect meets the road paving industry’s need for greener, safer technologies, combining sustainability and efficiency like no other fluxing agent on the market and offering a tighter boiling range for faster evaporation, faster recovery of bitumen properties and quicker cohesion build up.
 
 

Focus

Building robust bonds

Our Addibond™ solutions are high-efficiency specialty additives for paint adhesion and adhesive bonding to aluminum and galvanized steel. They literally build bridges between metallic substrates and organic coatings such as paints and adhesives. This offers many benefits including shorter processing times, lower cost in use, enhanced conversion treatment performance and process durability.

High-performance filaments for 3D-printing

Solvay’s filaments portfolio enables the world’s most demanding industries – healthcare, automotive, aerospace and oil & gas – to 3D-print fully functional prototypes, as well as cost-efficient single to small volume applications, much faster than traditional manufacturing. Particularly suited to outdoor applications and parts in contact with harsh chemical environments, our newly launched Solef® PVDF AM filament provides long-term performance up to 120°C, including exceptional chemical resistance and outstanding UV, weathering and oxidation resistance.

read less

19

%

of net sales