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Title: Cognis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Specialty chemical companies, BASF, Henkel, Düsseldorf
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Industry Chemicals
Founded August 1, 1999
Headquarters Monheim, Germany
Key people
  • Antonio Trius, CEO
  • Helmut Heymann, CAO
  • Marco Panichi, CFO
  • Paul S Allen, Functional Products
  • Richard Ridinger, Care Chemicals
  • Stéphane Baseden, Nutrition & Health
Revenue € 3.001 billion (2008)
Number of employees
5,600 (2009)
Parent BASF

Cognis was a worldwide supplier of specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients, headquartered in Monheim am Rhein, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The company employs about 5,600 people and operates production or service centers in almost 30 countries. Cognis was acquired by BASF in 2010.

Cognis is a deliverer of natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Another one of their markets is in products for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants as well as agriculture and mining.

Cognis was an integrated part of Henkel, a German consumer products company, until 1999, when it became an operationally independent business unit. In November 2001, Cognis was bought by private equity funds Permira, GS Capital Partners and SV Life Sciences. In 2008, Cognis recorded sales of about 3 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (operating result) of 351 million euros.

BASF reached an agreement with Cognis Holding Luxembourg S.à r.l. — which is controlled by Permira Funds, GS Capital Partners and SV Life Sciences — to acquire the specialty chemicals company Cognis for an equity purchase price of €700 million. Including net financial debt and pension obligations, the enterprise value of the transaction is €3.1 billion. The acquisition is subject to clearance by the competent merger control authorities. Closing of the transaction occurred in December 2010.

Product portfolio and markets

Cognis is divided into three strategic business units.

  • Care Chemicals is a global producer of specialty chemicals and surfactants for manufacturers of hair, skin and body care products, as well as makers of household and industrial detergents and cleaners:
    • Hair/Body/Oral Care: hair cleansing, hair treatment, facial and body cleansing, oral care
    • Skin Care: facial, body and baby care, sun care, deodorants and antiperspirants, color cosmetics, personal care wipes
    • Home Care: hard surface care, fabric care
    • Industrial & Institutional Cleaning: hard surface cleaners, textile hygiene
    • Skintex: natural ingredients for cosmetotextiles
    • Silicates.
  • Nutrition & Health develops and produces natural-source ingredients for the food and healthcare industries:
  • Functional Products develops integrated solutions which purpose is to enhance the performance and cost efficiency of manufacturing processes for a variety of industrial markets:
    • Polymers, Coatings & Inks: additives, binders and hardeners for many kinds of coatings, printing inks, adhesives and polymerization products
    • Synlubes Technology: products to formulate hydraulic and transmission fluids, automotive, aircraft and refrigerant lubricants, as well as additives for fuels and metalworking fluids
    • AgroSolutions: additives and adjuvants for plant protection formulations as well as nutrients, emulsifiers and defoamers
    • Mining & Ion-Transfer Technology: products for environmentally sound metal extraction, metal recovery and recycling, and for the elimination of heavy metals from wastes.

Strategy and core competencies

  • About 50 percent of the resources processed by Cognis are renewable. As base materials, Cognis uses natural oils and fats, or plant extracts
  • Cognis has claimed to make efforts which would strengthen its presence in high-growth regions, especially the Asia-Pacific market. In 2008, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 14% of Cognis’ sales, North America was representing 20%, Central and South America 6%, and Europe 60%.

External links

  • Official website
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