The late Steve Jobs had a strategy and a vision for Apple and it started with the customer, not the engineers or the company’s awesome technology. The focus was always on the incredible benefits Apple could give its customers. Styrolution shares that vision
STYROLUTION has come a long way since 2011.
For the staff it has been quite a journey.
For the customers, it has been proof that industry consolidation can work together for the greater good.
Today INEOS Styrolution is a wholly owned business having bought BASF’s 50% stake in the 2011 styrenic plastics joint venture for €1.1 billion last year.
And the future for the customers – if it is at all possible – looks even brighter.
The automotive industry will be among those to benefit most from INEOS’ latest decision to merge two of its businesses and create a one-stop shop for styrenics, which makes plastics for car components, electronic devices, household appliances, medical equipment, packaging and toys.
“It is something that no other company can offer on this scale,” said INEOS Capital Directorand Styrolution chairman Andy Currie. “And that is powerful for us and our customers.”
The decision to merge INEOS Styrolution and INEOS ABS was made in March this year – just months after INEOS acquired BASF’s share in Styrolution, the global market leader for styrenics.
Andy said the merger made perfect sense and offered ‘further tremendous opportunities for growth’.
INEOS ABS is the largest producer of styreneacrylonitrile polymers in North America and is well known there for shaping the interiors of cars. INEOS Styrolution, which operates 15 manufacturing sites in nine countries, has historically had a stronger position in exterior automotive applications.
“The businesses complement each other beautifully,” said Kevin McQuade, CEO, INEOSStyrolution. “High performance and premium aesthetics are key buying criteria for our customers in the automotive industry. And that’s what sets our products apart. We are passionate about giving our customers the best solution. It is in our corporate DNA.”
He added: “In the past, we may have had both companies competing for the same business but now we can build upon each other’s strengths to provide customers a more comprehensive offering.”
At the recent international NPE trade show in Orlando, Florida, INEOS Styrolution and INEOS ABS shared a booth and offered customers a glimpse of the future.
“We were able to show them that the possibilities of styrenics are endless and they were excited by what they saw,” said Kevin. “Quite simply we have always been helping others to shape the future of the automotive, healthcare, electronics, household, construction and packaging industries through styrenics.”
INEOS and BASF had formed the joint venture in October 2011 amid challenging market conditions. Overnight they created a truly global business and secured their number one place in the global styrenics market with a world-class, global manufacturing platform offering customers supply security, access to the very best technology and a broad product and service portfolio.
Together they were also stronger and more efficient. And within two years – instead of the forecasted five – they had generated €200 million in cost savings.
“We created a completely different and unique company,” said Kevin. “It was a game-changer.”
As part of the joint venture agreement, though, INEOS always had the right to buy out BASF – a decision it took in November last year.
INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe described the acquisition as another important step in the growth of the Styrolution business.
“We are pleased to bring Styrolution fully into the INEOS family,” he said at the time.
INEOS Styrolution is now a wholly-owned INEOS business – and looking to expand.
“Styrolution already has a global asset footprint but new markets are emerging,” said Kevin. “We intend to expand our footprint in Brazil and in Asia, particularly China. This is an outgrowth of our Triple Shift strategy, which calls for expanding our position across customer industries, standard ABS and styrenic specialties, and emerging markets. With plants all over the world, there is no need to ship goods from Europe to America or vice versa. The goods are on the doorstep of our customers. We really are a truly global business within INEOS.”
INEOS Styrolution sells its products to the automotive industry as granules. Those granules are then further processed by manufacturers to make and shape parts, for example, for cars.
“Whatever they can imagine, they can make,” said Kevin.
Another industry which works closely with INEOS Styrolution is the construction industry – and it shows.
“Our customers in the construction market are at the leading edge of innovation and are continually challenged to bring higher endurance, longer lasting, more cost effective and aesthetically-pleasing products to the marketplace,” said Thomas Hazenstab, Specialities Business Director.
Together they have created products such as decking, fencing and railings that fare better in bad weather and can also withstand high temperatures.
“We pride ourselves on working closely with customers to develop new products that meet their specific needs,” said Thomas. “It’s about setting industry trends. We want to offer the best possible solution to give them a competitive edge in their own markets.”
Kevin said innovation had been key to the business’ success and would be, even more so, in the future.
“To thrive in the specialty markets, we need to create added value through innovation for our customers,” he said. “That’s why we enter into collaborative innovation with our customers to develop new styrenic solutions for the products of tomorrow. Cutting-edge solutions and applications, product and process innovations differentiate us from our competitors and foster our preferred partner position.”
Styrolution is also the leading, global supplier of styrenics to the electronics industries, which also ensures computer casings and monitors are strong and heat resistant. A major part of printers made in the world today contain Styrolution polystyrene or ABS products.
Both Styrolution and INEOS ABS are also expected to benefit from the merger by reaping synergies which will enhance the efficiency of the business.
Core functions such as marketing and sales, customer service, research and development, supply chain, manufacturing, finance and human resources are being merged and best practices are being shared. Not only will this benefit the whole organisation but customers will enjoy the advantage of having a central source to fulfil all their styrenics requirements.
“There have been a lot of changes for people within the business,” said Kevin. “But for our customers, the key message has been continuity. If there are any changes, they will be for the better. This company is in it for the long-term.”