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Solvay gets ready to divide

by Alex Scott
November 19, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 38


Solvay has selected management teams and set out financial targets for its upcoming split into separate commodity chemical and specialty chemical companies. The final hurdle for the split is the approval of shareholders at its extraordinary general meeting on Dec. 8. If all goes to plan, a new specialty chemical company named Syensqo will be listed on the Brussels and Paris stock markets. Syensqo will be headed by Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri, who says the firm will sell products that address global problems such as climate change. It plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. It will start with annual sales of about $6.6 billion; it aims to both grow 5–7% annually and establish a pretax profit margin of more than 20% by 2028. Meanwhile, the commodity chemical business founded 160 years ago by the Belgian chemist Ernest Solvay will continue to use his name and his process for making soda ash. It will be led by Philippe Kehren, the current head of the soda ash unit. Solvay has yet to disclose targets for increasing its annual sales of about $4.5 billion but says it is committed to growing the business and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The company also plans to cut annual costs by $325 million.


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