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Synthos

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Synthos S.A.
Legal form Spółka Akcyjna
joint stock company (Poland)
ISIN PLDWORY00019
Foundation 01.09.1945
Seat Oświęcim, PolandPolen Poland
Management Zbigniew Warmuz
(Chairman of the Management Board)
Jarosław Grodzki (Chairman of the Supervisory Board)
Number of employees 2.643[1]
Sales 4.755 billion złoty (1 billion euro)[2]
Industry Chemical industry
Website https://www.synthosgroup.com
Status: 31 December 2016

Synthos S.A. is a listed company based in Oświęcim in southern Poland. The company is one of the leading producers of basic chemical products in Poland and Europe’s largest producer of polystyrene and synthetic rubber. The company is included in the WIG30 index of the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The name synthos is a portmanteau of the Greek words synthesis (union) and orthos (straight, upright, right).

History

The company was founded on 1 September 1945 in Dwory (today part of the city of Oświęcim) under the name Fabryka Paliw Syntetycznych w Dworach (i.e. Factory for Synthetic Fuels in Dwory).
The factory buildings had previously been built by I.G. Farben as the Buna Works during the German occupation of Poland and were located in the immediate vicinity of the Auschwitz III Monowitz concentration camp.

There followed several changes of the company name to Państwowe Zakłady Syntezy Chemicznej w Dworach (i.e. State Chemical Synthesis Plants in Dwory) (1946), Zakłady Syntezy Chemicznej w Dworach (i.e. Chemical Synthesis Plants in Dwory), Zakłady Chemiczne – Przedsiębiorstwo Państwowe Wyodrębnione w Oświęcimiu (i.e. Chemical Plants – Outsourced State Enterprise in Oświęcim ) (1949) and Zakłady Chemiczne “ Oświęcim” (i.e. Chemical Plants “Oświęcim”) (1951).

In 1948, after the commissioning of a steam boiler and a turbogenerator, the production of the first chemical products began: Trichloroethylene and chlorobenzene. From 1950 onwards, synthetic gasoline was produced.
In the course of the fifties, the production of other chemical raw materials such as carbide, acetylene, chlorine, vinyl chloride, PVC, methanol, styrene and polystyrene was started; from 1959 onwards, rubber was produced.

From 1960 onwards, the product range was expanded again: from then on, PMMA, butanol, octanol, vinyl polymers, catalysts, ethyl acetate, hydrochloric acid and cleaning agents were produced. For economic reasons and with the aim of concentrating on the manufacturing processes for synthetic rubber and latex, which had been further developed in the meantime, the production of butadiene from ethyl alcohol was discontinued in 1964; in 1968, the production of ethylene from acetylene was also abandoned.
At about the same time, the importance of petrochemical raw materials in the production processes increased, as their purchase proved to be increasingly more cost-effective than the use of raw materials that had previously been chemically produced on the basis of coal.

While the 1970s were characterised by strong growth and the modernisation of production facilities, rationalisation measures began from around 1980, particularly with regard to the workforce; in addition, investment activities came to a virtual standstill until around 1982. From about the mid-1980s onwards there was a gradual increase in the production volumes prescribed by the central planning economy and consequently also in the investments made. The debate on environmental protection, which became increasingly important, especially towards the end of the decade, also led to an intensification of investments in the treatment of industrial waste gases and industrial waste water.

On 1 December 1994 the hitherto public company was privatised and on 12 September 1995 60% of its shares were transferred to the closed state investment fund Narodowy Fundusz Investycyjny nr X (NFI Foksal). By resolution of the General Meeting of Shareholders of 28 April 1997, the company was renamed Chemiczna Dwory Spółka Akcyjna ( Chemiczna Dwory Spółka Akcyjna ).

On 20 December 2004, the company was fully privatised with the start of public trading on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

In 2007, the company Kaučuk a.s. in Kralupy nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic was acquired from Unipetrol for 195 million euros. Finally, on October 23, 2007, the company was renamed Synthos S.A.
In addition, a cooperation agreement was concluded with Michelin this year, giving the company access to Michelin’s technology for the production of polybutadiene-based synthetic rubber. At the same time, Synthos agreed to supply Michelin with this raw material, which is used in the production of car tires, for several years.

In 2008, the production of XPS boards – an insulating material used in the construction industry – was started.

Since 2011, Synthos has been researching the production of butadiene from renewable raw materials together with the French company Global Bioenergies.

After the trading day on 16 March 2012, the company was included in the WIG20 index of the largest listed companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. In the same year, a licence agreement was signed with the American tyre group Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for the production of styrene-butadiene rubber. The construction of a corresponding production plant with a total investment volume of 568 million złoty (approx. 124.8 million euros), of which about 147 million złoty (approx. 32.3 million euros) was financed from EU subsidies, took place by 2015.

The market launch of the Synthos AGRO segment took place in 2014. The company produces and distributes various agrochemical products under this brand, primarily fertilizers and crop protection products.

In 2016, Synthos completed the acquisition of Ineos Styrenics[3] for 80 million euros, giving Synthos ownership of the expanded polystyrene production sites in Wingles and Ribécourt-Dreslincourt (northern France) and Breda (Netherlands). The Breda site also includes its own research and development center.

Business segments

The company’s operations are divided into six basic segments:[4]

Synthetic rubbers(pl. “Segment Kauczuków Syntetycznych”)
This is the Group’s main business segment. Around 80 % of the production volumes sold go to manufacturers of vehicle tyres. Customers include the world’s five largest tire manufacturers (Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental and Pirelli). The remaining 20 % is purchased by producers of shoe soles, transmission belts and elastic hoses, among others.
Styrenic plastics(pl. “Segment Tworzyw Styrenowych”)
This business unit is engaged in the production of foamable polystyrene for the manufacture of expanded polystyrene (EPS), a common foam (“Styrofoam”) used, among other things, for the thermal insulation of buildings and in the packaging industry. In addition, normal polystyrene(GPPS, General Purpose Polystyrene) and high impact polystyrene(HIPS, High Impact Polystyrene) are also produced. One area of application for these plastics is the manufacture of food packaging, disposable tableware and cutlery; in addition, polystyrene is also used to manufacture (parts of) housings for electrical appliances (televisions, computers, white goods). This business unit is also involved in the production of extruded polystyrene (XPS), a rigid foam that is used in the form of insulating panels, primarily for the external thermal insulation of buildings.
Dispersions, adhesives and latexes(pl. “Segment Dyspersji, Klejów i Lateksów”)
The activities of this business unit include the production of dispersions based on acrylics, styrene acrylates and vinyls, which are used primarily in the manufacture of paints, acrylic plasters and primers, as well as other construction chemicals. In addition, adhesives are produced for the paper and furniture industry. The production of styrene-butadiene latex, a basic material for the production of foams and carpets, is also part of this business unit.
Agrochemicals (pl. “Agro segment”)
The activities in this business segment include the production of crop protection products, seed protection products, biocides and foliar fertilizers.
Supply(pl. “Segment Media”)
This business area bundles the activities for the generation of electrical energy and thermal energy; as well as their transmission.
Care products(pl. “Segment Care”)
This business segment is concerned with the development and production as well as the distribution of nanocarriers. Such carrier substances are used to transport active ingredients of cosmetics and food supplements directly into the cells concerned. In this way, the bioavailability of the respective active ingredient is to be increased and thus ultimately the effectiveness of the cosmetic or supplement product.

Shareholder structure

The Company’s share capital amounts to PLN 39,697,500 (approximately EUR 8.7 million) and is divided into 1,323,250,000 shares with a nominal value of PLN 0.03 each.

Status: 31 December 2016[1]
Shareholder Number of shares held Equity stake Share of voting rights
Michał Sołowow, indirectly via

  • FTF Galleon S.A.
  • Ustra S.A.
826.559.009

  • 682.918.112
  • 143.640.897
62,46 %

  • 51,61 %
  • 10,85 %
62,46 %

  • 51,61 %
  • 10,85 %
Aviva OFE (Open-ended pension fund) 66.803.137 5,05 % 5,05 %
Free float 429.887.854 32,49 % 32,49 %
Total 1.323.250.000 100,00 % 100,00 %

Individual references

  1. a b Grupa Synthos S.A.:Raport Roczny 01.01.2016 – 31.12.2016.(PDF; 9.2 MB) Retrieved 5 December 2017 (Polish).
  2. Grupa Synthos S.A.:Skonsolidowane sprawozdanie finansowe za okres zakończony 31 grudnia 2016 R. (Consolidated financial statements 2016).(PDF; 3.8 MB) Retrieved 5 December 2017 (Polish).
  3. INEOS Enterprises:INEOS Enterprises completes the sale of INEOS Styrenics to Synthos S.A. for €80m.31 August 2016, accessed 5 December 2017 (English).
  4. Grupa Synthos S.A.:Profile działalności.Retrieved 1 June 2018 (Polish).