Arkema to focus on specialty materials business

Article by Amanda Jasi

ARKEMA is to exit the intermediate chemicals business as it seeks to realise its ambition of becoming a world leader in specialty materials. By 2024, it aims to be a pure specialty materials player with a resilient and focussed portfolio.

Since 2016, Arkema has been undertaking a transformation which has allowed it to develop positions in specialty materials, an area which accounts for almost 80% of its sales, which totalled €8.7bn (US$9.45) in 2019. According to Arkema, demand for sustainable and high-performance materials is currently growing.

Presented at Arkema’s strategy update on 2 April, the recent move represents the next phase in the company’s transformation. As a specialty materials focussed company, Arkema will encompass three business divisions with attractive growth prospects: Adhesive Solutions, Advanced Materials, and Coating Solutions.

Some areas which currently fall under its Intermediates division – which accounted for 21% of sales in 2019 – are to be integrated into Specialty Materials. Concerning Fluorogases, Arkema is to focus on specialty segment high-value intermediates for fluoropolymers, and fluoroderivatives for electronics and batteries. Arkema will balance its acrylic monomer capacity in Asia through upstream partnerships and downstream growth.

The company is reviewing strategic options for its Methyl Methacrylate/Polymethyl Methacrylate (MMA/PMMA) business, and for emissive applications (air conditioning and refrigeration) of its Fluorogases business.

Arkema commented that achieving its targets will depend on the duration and long-term impacts of the current coronavirus crisis. Regarding the crisis, Arkema says it is implementing crisis management measures to protect its employees’ health, adjusting its supply chain, and adapting its production facilities to best manage disruptions and ensure continuity of supply to customers in essential markets.

Arkema was formed in 2004 within Total’s Chemicals business, bringing together the Vinyl Products, Industrial Chemicals and Performance Products businesses. In 2006, the company become independent, marked by its listing on the stockmarket. Through innovation, targeted acquisitions, and investments in emerging countries, the company has gained recognition as a world player in the field of specialty chemicals.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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