Lanxess Celebrates Five Years as Listed Company
February 1 marks the fifth anniversary of specialty chemicals group Lanxess debuting on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the company reports that some 14,600 employees around the globe will mark the occasion. The first price quoted for Lanxess shares on January 31, 2005 stood at 15.75 euros. Five years later, on February 1, 2010, the opening price was 27.42 euros.
The German company describes its history as ‘relatively short but eventful’. Elaborating, chairman of the Lanxess Board of Management, Axel C. Heitmann, said “although we started out in unfavourable circumstances and had to overcome a number of difficult phases, we have now secured the company a position of considerable standing in the chemical industry thanks to the commitment and solidarity shown by all our staff. Lanxess will continue to play globally a leading role in this sector and enjoy prominent market positions thanks to its innovative products.”
A 1,000 square metre banner displaying the fifth anniversary motif has been erected at the company’s group headquarters in Leverkusen, and on February 2 employees will be invited to attend an anniversary event there. Similar events will take place at other Lanxess sites in Germany.
Five years ago, Lanxess was made up of 17 business units organised into four segments. Now, the specialty chemicals group focuses on three segments with 13 business units and matches the profitability of its key competitors. A total sales volume of around 1.5 billion euros has been divested. In parallel to this organisational alignment, new financial and controlling systems have also been put in place. “This has created the conditions for us to emerge stronger from the global economic crisis,” remarked Heitmann.
Following the completion of this transformation, Lanxess set its sights on growth. In order to expand business, the company has systematically focused on the BRIC states. In China, the “Lanxess goes Asia” initiative launched in 2006 has focused on acquisitions, the expansion of existing plants, the creation of joint ventures and the establishment of several research alliances. In Brazil, Lanxess acquired Petroflex, Latin America’s leading synthetic rubber manufacturer, in 2007. In India, LANXESS strengthened its presence by taking over the business assets of Gwalior last year. And in Russia, an independent Lanxess country company was founded, also last year. “Our growth strategy in the BRIC states has had to face its first trial of strength in these times of crisis and has passed this with flying colours. Asia and China in particular are currently the driving force behind economic development,” continued Heitmann.
Over the past five years, the company’s product portfolio has been streamlined, boosted by new applications and strengthened by collaborations. The group is focusing on high-quality technology-driven products and processes, and on sectors with less cyclical businesses. Despite the global recession, Laxness has increased its research and innovation budget. It currently has 100 projects in the development pipeline.
The company also believes its achievements over the past five years are reflected in the improvement in the company’s key financial figures. In 2004, Lanxess started out with an EBITDA margin pre exceptionals of 6.6 per cent. By 2008, this margin has increased to 11.0 per cent. Lanxess had thus attained its goal of closing the gap on the average figure achieved by its competitors. In 2009, the ICIS Chemical Business magazine, the leading information provider for the industry, named Lanxess “Company of the Year” due to its “outstanding economic development in a challenging 2008.”