Clariant is a specialty chemicals company based in Muttenz, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1995 when Martin Syz, then head of Sandoz AG's chemicals division, was tasked by Sandoz with developing a business plan for an independent specialty chemicals company. As of 2021, Clariant's Executive Committee is made up of Conrad Keijzer (CEO), Hans Bohnen (Executive VP and COO), Bernd Hoegemann (Executive VP and Chief Transformation Officer), and Stephan Lynen (Executive VP and CFO).
Clariant was founded in 1995 by Martin Syz as a spin-out of Sandoz AG's Chemical division. At its inception, Syz served as the company's CEO, with Rolf W. Schweizer as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Clariant cites both men as being "key figures" in their founding phase.
Clariant acquired Zipperling Kessler & Co. in 1996 and Specialty Chemicals of Hoescht AG in 1997, with the latter acquisition quadrupling their number of employees and pushing sales to almost 10 billion swiss francs. In 1998, Clariant adopted the company slogan "Exactly Your Chemistry," and bought companies based in Mexico and Korea. Rolf W. Schweizer also took on the responsibility of CEO after a previously announced merger with competitor Ciba fell through at the end of the year.
Hoest AG sold its 45% stake in Clariant in 1999. In 2000, Clariant acquired the specialty chemicals company British Tar Products (BTP) on what the company called "much too costly terms." The move had significant impact on Clariant's balance sheet for many years afterward. As a result of the BTP acquisition, Clariant had to divest several parts of its business operations in the years following. The position of CEO changes hands many times in the aftermath of the BTP deal.
Clariant began to see improvements in 2003 and onward under the leadership of CEO Roland Lösser, who manages the company's balance sheet and reduces costs. In 2006, Clariant acquired Ciba Masterbatches. During the 2008 financial crisis, chemist Hariolf Kottman became Clariant's CEO, a move the company calls a "turning point." The years after this are marked by mass restructuring, with Clariant separating their four divisions into eleven business units, closing small and unprofitable locations and moving their headquarters to Clarient tower in Pratteln.
Clariant made many acquisitions in the US, Canada, and Germany in 2011, and began further specialization in the years following. This includes building a 6,000 square meter Biotech facility near Munich in 2015 and employing more than one hundred specialists there. After a failed merger with US chemical company Huntsman in 2017, Clariant continued to shift organizational structures around the company. In 2020, Clariant successfully sold the masterbatches business to Avient (formerly PolyOne) and selected Conrad Keijzer as its new CEO, a position he started on January 1, 2021.
Clariant has offices in over fifty countries and is a global provider of specialty chemicals in a wide variety of industries:
- Agriculture and Animal Feed
- Automotive and Transportation
- Building and Construction
- Chemical Intermediates
- Coatings, Paints and Inks
- Consumer Goods
- Digital Printing
- Food, Beverage, and Edible Oil
- Home Care
- Industrial Manufacturing
- Oil and Gas
- Personal Care
- Plastics and Polymers
- Refinery and Petrochemicals
- Waste Management