BASF
Overview
 
BASF SE is the largest chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. BASF originally stood for Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory). Today, the four letters are a registered trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 and the company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Frankfurt Stock Exchange
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is the world's 12th largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is owned and operated by Deutsche Börse, which also owns the European futures exchange Eurex and the clearing company...

, London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London within the United Kingdom. , the Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$3.7495 trillion, making it the fourth-largest stock exchange in the world by this measurement...

, and Zurich Stock Exchange. The company delisted its ADR
American Depositary Receipt
An American depositary receipt is a negotiable security that represents the underlying securities of a non-U.S. company that trades in the US financial markets...

 from the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 in September 2007.

The BASF Group comprises subsidiaries
Subsidiary
A subsidiary company, subsidiary, or daughter company is a company that is completely or partly owned and wholly controlled by another company that owns more than half of the subsidiary's stock. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a...

 and joint ventures in more than 80 countries and operates six integrated production sites and 390 other production sites in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

.
Encyclopedia
BASF SE is the largest chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. BASF originally stood for Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory). Today, the four letters are a registered trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 and the company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Frankfurt Stock Exchange
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is the world's 12th largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is owned and operated by Deutsche Börse, which also owns the European futures exchange Eurex and the clearing company...

, London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London within the United Kingdom. , the Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$3.7495 trillion, making it the fourth-largest stock exchange in the world by this measurement...

, and Zurich Stock Exchange. The company delisted its ADR
American Depositary Receipt
An American depositary receipt is a negotiable security that represents the underlying securities of a non-U.S. company that trades in the US financial markets...

 from the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 in September 2007.

The BASF Group comprises subsidiaries
Subsidiary
A subsidiary company, subsidiary, or daughter company is a company that is completely or partly owned and wholly controlled by another company that owns more than half of the subsidiary's stock. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a...

 and joint ventures in more than 80 countries and operates six integrated production sites and 390 other production sites in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Its headquarters is located in Ludwigshafen am Rhein (Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

). BASF has customers in over 200 countries and supplies products to a wide variety of industries. Despite its size and global presence BASF receives little public attention as it abandoned consumer product lines in the 90s.

At the end of 2010, the company employed more than 109,000 people, with over 50,800 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 alone. In 2010, BASF posted sales of €63.87 billion and income from operations before special items of about €8.1 billion. The company is currently expanding its international activities with a particular focus on Asia. Between 1990 and 2005, the company invested €5.6 billion in Asia, for example in sites near Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 and Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Mangalore
Mangalore
Mangalore is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located about west of the state capital, Bangalore. Mangalore lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges, and is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district in south western...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

History

BASF was founded on 6 April 1865 in Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, by Friedrich Engelhorn. He had been responsible for setting up a gasworks
Gasworks
A gasworks or gas house is a factory for the manufacture of gas. The use of natural gas has made many redundant in the developed world, however they are often still used for storage.- Early gasworks :...

 and street lighting for the town council in 1861. The gasworks produced tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

 as a byproduct, and Engelhorn used this for the production of dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

s. BASF was set up in 1865 to produce other chemicals necessary for dye production, notably soda and acids. The plant, however, was erected on the other side of the Rhine river at Ludwigshafen because the town council of Mannheim was afraid that the air pollution of the chemical plant could bother the inhabitants of the town. In 1866 the dye production processes were also moved to the BASF site.

Dyes

The discovery in 1856 by William Henry Perkin that aniline
Aniline
Aniline, phenylamine or aminobenzene is an organic compound with the formula C6H5NH2. Consisting of a phenyl group attached to an amino group, aniline is the prototypical aromatic amine. Being a precursor to many industrial chemicals, its main use is in the manufacture of precursors to polyurethane...

 could be used to make intense colouring agents had led to the commercial production of synthetic dyes in England from aniline extracted from coal tar. BASF recruited Heinrich Caro
Heinrich Caro
Heinrich Caro , was a German chemist.He started his study of chemistry at the Friedrich Wilhelms University and later chemistry and dyeing in Berlin at the Royal Trades Institute...

, a German chemist with experience of the dyestuffs industry in England. Caro developed a synthesis for alizarin
Alizarin
Alizarin or 1,2-dihydroxyanthraquinone is an organic compound with formula that has been used throughout history as a prominent dye, originally derived from the roots of plants of the madder genus.Alizarin was used as a red dye for the English parliamentary "new model" army...

 (a natural pigment in madder
Madder
Rubia is a genus of the madder family Rubiaceae, which contains about 60 species of perennial scrambling or climbing herbs and sub-shrubs native to the Old World, Africa, temperate Asia and America...

), and applied for a British patent on 25 June 1869. Coincidentally Perkin applied for a virtually identical patent on 26 June 1869, and the two companies came to a mutual commercial agreement about the process.

Further patents were granted for the synthesis of methylene blue
Methylene blue
Methylene blue is a heterocyclic aromatic chemical compound with the molecular formula C16H18N3SCl. It has many uses in a range of different fields, such as biology and chemistry. At room temperature it appears as a solid, odorless, dark green powder, that yields a blue solution when dissolved in...

 and eosin
Eosin
Eosin is a fluorescent red dye resulting from the action of bromine on fluorescein. It can be used to stain cytoplasm, collagen and muscle fibers for examination under the microscope. Structures that stain readily with eosin are termed eosinophilic....

, and in 1880 research began to try to find a synthetic process for indigo dye
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

, though this was not successfully brought to the market until 1897. In 1901, some 80% of the BASF production was dyestuffs.

Soda

Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

 (soda) was produced by the Leblanc process
Leblanc process
The Leblanc process was the industrial process for the production of soda ash used throughout the 19th century, named after its inventor, Nicolas Leblanc. It involved two stages: Production of sodium sulfate from sodium chloride, followed by reaction of the sodium sulfate with coal and calcium...

 until 1880, when the much cheaper Solvay process
Solvay process
The Solvay process, also referred to as the ammonia-soda process, is the major industrial process for the production of soda ash . The ammonia-soda process was developed into its modern form by Ernest Solvay during the 1860s...

 became available. BASF ceased to make its own and bought it from the Solvay company
Solvay (company)
Solvay S.A. is a Belgian chemical company with its head office in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. It was founded in 1863 by Ernest Solvay to produce sodium carbonate by the solvay process. Since then the company has diversified to two major sectors of activity: chemicals and plastics...

 thereafter.

Sulfuric acid

Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 was initially produced by the Lead chamber process
Lead chamber process
The lead chamber process was an industrial method used to produce sulfuric acid in large quantities. It has been largely supplanted by the contact process....

, but in 1890 a unit using the Contact process
Contact process
The contact process is the current method of producing sulphuric acid in the high concentrations needed for industrial processes. Platinum was formerly employed as a catalyst for the reaction, but as it is susceptible to poisoning by arsenic impurities in the sulfur feedstock, vanadium oxide is...

 was brought on stream, producing the acid at higher concentration (98% instead of 80%) and at lower cost. This followed extensive research and development by Rudolf Knietsch, for which he received the Liebig Medal
Liebig Medal
The Liebig-Denkmünze is an award originally given annually by the Verein Deutscher Chemiker beginning in 1903. The medal is named after Justus von Liebig.- Recipients :* 1903 Adolf von Baeyer, Munich* 1904 Rudolf Knietsch, Ludwigshafen...

 in 1904.

Ammonia

The development of the Haber process
Haber process
The Haber process, also called the Haber–Bosch process, is the nitrogen fixation reaction of nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas, over an enriched iron or ruthenium catalyst, which is used to industrially produce ammonia....

 from 1908 to 1912 made it possible to synthesize ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 (a major industrial chemical as the primary source of nitrogen), and, after acquiring exclusive rights to the process, in 1913 BASF started a new production plant in Oppau, adding fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s to its product range. BASF also acquired and began mining anhydrite
Anhydrite
Anhydrite is a mineral – anhydrous calcium sulfate, CaSO4. It is in the orthorhombic crystal system, with three directions of perfect cleavage parallel to the three planes of symmetry. It is not isomorphous with the orthorhombic barium and strontium sulfates, as might be expected from the...

 for gypsum
Gypsum
Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...

 at the Kohnstein
Kohnstein
The Kohnstein is a mountain, 2 kilometres southwest of the village of Niedersachswerfen and 3 kilometres northwest of the center of the city of Nordhausen...

 in 1917.

IG Farben

As a result of this monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

, BASF was able to start operations at a new site in Leuna in 1916, where explosives were produced during the First World War. On September 21, 1921, an explosion occurred in Oppau
Oppau
Oppau may refer to* Ludwigshafen-Oppau, a suburb of Ludwigshafen, Germany** the Oppau explosion which occurred there in 1921* until 1945, Opawa, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland...

, killing 565 people. The Oppau explosion
Oppau explosion
The Oppau explosion occurred on September 21, 1921 when a tower silo storing 4,500 tonnes of a mixture of ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded at a BASF plant in Oppau, now part of Ludwigshafen, Germany, killing 500–600 people and injuring about 2,000 more.The plant began...

 was the biggest catastrophe in German industry. Under the leadership of Carl Bosch
Carl Bosch
Carl Bosch was a German chemist and engineer and Nobel laureate in chemistry. He was a pioneer in the field of high-pressure industrial chemistry and founder of IG Farben, at one point the world's largest chemical company....

, BASF founded IG Farben
IG Farben
I.G. Farbenindustrie AG was a German chemical industry conglomerate. Its name is taken from Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG . The company was formed in 1925 from a number of major companies that had been working together closely since World War I...

 with Hoechst
Hoechst AG
Hoechst AG was a German chemicals then life-sciences company that became Aventis Deutschland after its merger with France's Rhône-Poulenc S.A. in 1999...

, Bayer, and three other companies, thus losing its independence. BASF was the nominal survivor, as all shares were exchanged for BASF shares prior to the merger. Rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

s, and coating
Coating
Coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object, usually referred to as the substrate. In many cases coatings are applied to improve surface properties of the substrate, such as appearance, adhesion, wetability, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and scratch resistance...

s were added to the product range. Following the appointment of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 as Chancellor in 1933, IG Farben cooperated with the Nazi regime
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, profiting from guaranteed volumes and prices, and from the slave labor provided by the government's concentration camps. IG Farben also achieved notoriety owing to its production of Zyklon-B, the lethal gas used in Nazi extermination camps. In 1935, IG Farben and AEG
AEG
Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft was a German producer of electrical equipment founded in 1883 by Emil Rathenau....

 presented the magnetophon
Magnetophon
Magnetophon was the brand or model name of the pioneering reel-to-reel tape recorder developed by engineers of the German electronics company AEG in the 1930s, based on the magnetic tape invention by Fritz Pfleumer...

 – the first tape recorder
Tape recorder
An audio tape recorder, tape deck, reel-to-reel tape deck, cassette deck or tape machine is an audio storage device that records and plays back sounds, including articulated voices, usually using magnetic tape, either wound on a reel or in a cassette, for storage...

 – at the Radio Exhibition
Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin
The IFA or Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany. Between 1924 and 1939 it was an annual event, but as from 1950 it was organized on a two yearly basis until 2005. Since then it has become an annual event again, held in September...

 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

.

World War II

The Ludwigshafen site was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and was subsequently rebuilt. The allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 dissolved IG Farben in November 1945.

BASF refounded

On July 28 1948, an explosion in which 207 people died occurred in Ludwigshafen. In 1952, BASF was refounded under its own name following the efforts of Carl Wurster
Carl Wurster
Carl Wurster was a German chemist and Wehrwirtschaftsführer during the Third Reich...

. With the German economic miracle in the 1950s, BASF added synthetics such as nylon to its product range. BASF developed polystyrene in the 1930s and invented Styropor in 1951.

Production abroad

In the 1960s, production abroad was expanded and plants were built in Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Following a change in corporate strategy in 1965, greater emphasis was placed on higher-value products such as coatings, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and fertilizers. Following German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

, BASF acquired a site in Schwarzheide
Schwarzheide
Schwarzheide is a town in the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district, in southern Brandenburg, Germany. It is situated on the river Schwarze Elster, 11 km southwest of Senftenberg, 110 km south of Berlin and 40 km north of Dresden...

, eastern Germany, on October 25 1990.

Takeovers

In 1968 BASF (together with Bayer AG) bought the German coatings company Herbol
Herbol
Herbol is one of the oldest German brands for professional coatings. It has its origins in the Lackfabrik Herbig-Haarhaus that was founded in Cologne in 1844. The product range contains façade paints, interior wall paints, lacquers and glazing, crack reinforcement as well as concrete and floor...

. BASF completely took over the Herbol
Herbol
Herbol is one of the oldest German brands for professional coatings. It has its origins in the Lackfabrik Herbig-Haarhaus that was founded in Cologne in 1844. The product range contains façade paints, interior wall paints, lacquers and glazing, crack reinforcement as well as concrete and floor...

 branches in Cologne and Würzburg in 1970. Under new management the renewal and expansion of the trademark continued. After an extensive reorganisation and an increasing international orientation of the coatings business Herbol became part of the new founded Deco GmbH in 1997.

In 1999 the European coatings business of BASF was taken over by AkzoNobel.
On May 30, 2006, BASF bought the Engelhard
Engelhard
Engelhard Corporation is a former American Fortune 500 company headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. It is credited with developing the first production catalytic converter. In 2006, the German chemical manufacturer BASF bought Engelhard for $US5 billion....

 Corporation for 4.8 billion USD. This takeover is the largest takeover in the company's history. BASF is now the world's largest manufacturer of catalytic converter
Catalytic converter
A catalytic converter is a device used to convert toxic exhaust emissions from an internal combustion engine into non-toxic substances. Inside a catalytic converter, a catalyst stimulates a chemical reaction in which noxious byproducts of combustion are converted to less toxic substances by dint...

s.

Other acquisitions in 2006 were the purchase of Johnson Polymer and the construction chemicals business of Degussa.

The acquisition of Johnson Polymer was completed on July 1, 2006. The purchase price was $470 million on a cash and debt-free basis. It provides BASF with a range of water-based resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

s that complements its portfolio of high solids and UV resins for the coatings and paints industry and will strengthen the company’s market presence, in particular in North America.

Also on July 1, 2006 the acquisition of the construction chemicals business of Degussa AG was completed. The purchase price for equity was just under €2.2 billion. In addition, the transaction was associated with debt of €0.5 billion.

The company agreed to acquire Ciba (formerly part of Ciba-Geigy
Novartis
Novartis International AG is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, ranking number three in sales among the world-wide industry...

) in September 2008. The proposed deal was reviewed by the European Commissioner for Competition, and on April 9, 2009, company acquired Ciba (formerly part of Ciba-Geigy).

On December 19, 2008, BASF acquired U.S.-based Whitmire Micro-Gen together with U.K.-based Sorex Ltd, Widnes, Great Britain. Sorex is a manufacturer of branded chemical and non-chemical products for professional pest management. In March 2007 Sorex was put up for sale with a price tag of about 100 million pounds.

Genetically modified organisms

Anti-biotechnology protest groups have criticized BASF's plans to hold trials of GMO
GMO
A GMO is a genetically modified organism.GMO may also refer to:* Gell-Mann–Okubo mass formula in particle physics* General Medical Officer, a designation for United States Army soldiers* Generalised molecular orbital theory, in chemistry...

 potatoes in the UK. A subsidiary of BASF which focuses on GMOs is BASF Plant Science
BASF Plant Science
BASF Plant Science is a subsidiary of BASF in which all plant biotechnology activities are consolidated. The headquarters of BASF Plant Science are located in the BASF Agrarzentrum Limburgerhof Germany and in Research Triangle Park North Carolina USA...

 which produces the Amflora
Amflora
Amflora is a genetically modified potato owned by BASF Plant Science. Amflora was approved for industrial applications in the European Union market on 2 March 2010 by the European Commission.-History:...

 GM potato.

Business segments

BASF operates in a variety of markets. Its business is organized in the segments Chemicals, Plastics, Performance Products, Functional Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. The company occasionally advertises to the public using the tagline "At BASF, we don't make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better." Its slogan is "BASF The Chemical Company".

Chemicals

BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gas
Industrial gas
Industrial gas is a group of gases that are commercially manufactured and sold for uses in other applications. These gases are mainly used in an industrial processes, such as steelmaking, oil refining, medical applications, fertilizer, semiconductors, etc.,...

es, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Plastics

BASF offers a comprehensive product line and market expertise ranging from commodities to engineering and high-performance materials in thermoplastics, foams and urethanes.

1. Engineering Plastics

BASF's Engineering Plastics consists of the "4 Ultras" - Ultramid polyamide
Polyamide
A polyamide is a polymer containing monomers of amides joined by peptide bonds. They can occur both naturally and artificially, examples being proteins, such as wool and silk, and can be made artificially through step-growth polymerization or solid-phase synthesis, examples being nylons, aramids,...

 (PA) nylon-based resins, Ultradur, polybutylene terephthalate
Polybutylene terephthalate
Polybutylene terephthalate is a thermoplastic engineering polymer, that is used as an insulator in the electrical and electronics industries. It is a thermoplastic crystalline polymer, and a type of polyester...

 (PBT), Ultraform, polyacetal (POM), and Ultrason, polysulfone
Polysulfone
Polysulfone describes a family of thermoplastic polymers. These polymers are known for their toughness and stability at high temperatures. They contain the subunit aryl-SO2-aryl, the defining feature of which is the sulfone group. Polysulfones were introduced in 1965 by Union Carbide...

 (PSU) and polyethersulfone (PES).

2. Styrenics

BASF Styrenics consists of the Foams and Copolymers. BASF's styrenic copolymers
Polystyrene
Polystyrene ) also known as Thermocole, abbreviated following ISO Standard PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry...

 have applications in electronics, building and construction, and automotive components.

3. Polyurethanes

BASF's Polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

s business consists of diverse technologies and finished products. Urethane chemicals are raw materials used in rigid and flexible foams commonly used for insulation in the construction and appliance industries, furniture, packaging and transportation.

4. Foams

Foams like Styropor are generally used as insulating materials. They are eco-efficient and offer advantages over other materials in terms of cost-effectiveness, preservation of resources and environmental protection. Investments made for insulating materials usually pay for themselves within a short time and contribute to retaining and even enhancing the value of buildings.

5. Polyamides and Intermediates

BASF is a manufacturer of polyamide precursors and polyamide
Polyamide
A polyamide is a polymer containing monomers of amides joined by peptide bonds. They can occur both naturally and artificially, examples being proteins, such as wool and silk, and can be made artificially through step-growth polymerization or solid-phase synthesis, examples being nylons, aramids,...

. BASF offer polyamide 6 and polyamide 6,6 polymers as well as precursors.

6. Biodegradable Plastics

BASF was a pioneer in manufacturing and developing biodegradable plastic, namely, Ecoflex. Ecovio, consists of Ecoflex and a high content of polylactic acid
Polylactic acid
Poly or polylactide is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch , tapioca products or sugarcanes...

.

Performance products

BASF produces a range of performance chemicals, coatings and functional polymers
Functional polymers
Functional polymers are polymers with advanced optic and/or electronic properties.Advantages of functional polymers are low cost, ease of processing and a range of attractive mechanical characteristics for functional organic molecules. One can adjust properties while keeping material usage low. ...

. These include raw materials for detergents, textile and leather chemicals, pigments and raw materials for adhesives, paper chemicals
Paper chemicals
-Optical brightening agent:Optical brightener is used to make paper appear more white. Optical brightening agents use fluorescence to absorb invisible radiation from the ultraviolet part of the light spectrum and re-emit the radiation as light in the visible blue range. The optical brightening...

. Customers are the automotive, oil, paper, packaging, textile, sanitary products, detergents, construction materials, coatings, printing and leather industries.

Functional Solutions

BASF's Functional Solutions segment consists of the Catalysts, Construction Chemicals and Coatings divisions. These divisions develop innovative, customer-specific products and system solutions, in particular for the automotive and construction industries.

Agricultural

BASF's pesticide division supplies agricultural products and chemicals. The company produces fungicides, herbicides and insecticides including F500 (pyraclostrobin), epoxiconazole, pendimethalin, boscalid, fipronil
Fipronil
Fipronil is a broad spectrum insecticide that disrupts the insect central nervous system by blocking the passage of chloride ions through the GABA receptor and glutamate-gated chloride channels, components of the central nervous system. This causes hyperexcitation of contaminated insects' nerves...

, seed treatment products and the Clearfield Production System. The company also researchs Nutrigenomics
Nutrigenomics
Nutrigenomics is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. It is about how our DNA is transcribed into mRNA and then to proteins and provides a basis for understanding the biological activity of food components...

.

Oil and gas

BASF explores for and produces oil and gas through its subsidiary Wintershall
Wintershall
Wintershall AG is the largest crude oil and natural gas producer in Germany. The company is based in Kassel, Germany. Wintershall is a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF, based in Ludwigshafen. The name Wintershall is derived from the surname of the enterprise co-founder Carl Julius Winter and the...

 Holding AG. In Central and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, Wintershall works with its Russian partner Gazprom
Gazprom
Open Joint Stock Company Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and the largest Russian company. Its headquarters are in Cheryomushki District, South-Western Administrative Okrug, Moscow...

.

Investors

75% of the BASF shares are held by institutional investor
Institutional investor
Institutional investors are organizations which pool large sums of money and invest those sums in securities, real property and other investment assets...

s (BlackRock
BlackRock
BlackRock, Inc. is an American multinational investment management corporation and the world's largest asset manager. BlackRock is headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States and is the leading provider of investment, advisory, and risk management solutions...

 more than 5%). 36% of the shares are held in Germany, 11% in the UK and 17 % in the U.S.

Production

BASF's recent success is characterized by a focus on creating resource efficient product lines after completely abandoning consumer products. This strategy was reflected in production by a re-focus towards integrated production sites. The largest such integrated production site is located in Ludwigshafen employing 33,000 people.
Integrated production sites are characterized by co-location of a large number of individual production lines (producing a specific chemical), which share an interconnected material flow. Piping is used ubiquitously for volume materials. All production lines use common raw material sourcing and feed back waste resources, which can be used elsewhere (e.g. steam of various temperatures, sulfuric acid, carbon monoxide). The economic incentive for this approach is high resource and energy efficiency of the overall process, reduced shipping cost and associated reduced risk of accidents. Due to the high cost of such an integrated production site it establishes a high entry barrier for competitors trying to enter the market for volume chemicals.

Environmental record

In 2006 BASF was praised by the Climate Leadership Index for their efforts in problems with climate change and greenhouse gasses in our world. In recent years the BASF Company has set aside a large portion of their R&D budget on resource conservation.

BASF has reported that one of their recent developments has been creating filters for wastewater treatments plants that help to reduce emissions.

Another recent environmental move the BASF Company has done is formed a partnership with Columbia University. The BASF Company and Columbia University came together so that they can further research “environmentally benign and sustainable energy sources”. The company has recently reported their emissions in 2006 to be “1.50 million metric tons of waste.” Even though it is a lot of waste, BASF has shown improvement in that they have steadily reduced their waste emissions in the last few years.

Chromium spill from BASF plant in Hannibal

In May 2009, accidental discharge of chromium from BASF Plant in Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Hannibal is located at the intersection of Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36 and 61, approximately northwest of St. Louis. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the population was 17,606...

 into the Mississippi River reportedly contaminated the drinking water. The local Department of Natural Resources did not react at the time to test the chromium levels, but later tests in December 2009 showed the chromium levels did not exceed regulatory safety limits.

Subsequently, BASF worked with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) to resolve questions regarding the elevated level of hexavalent chromium that was detected in the effluent from one of its permitted outfalls into the Mississippi River. The company notified MoDNR about the elevated level and collected tandem water samples for testing. The state department of health was also notified and upon reviewing the test results determined that the very small amounts found were well below recommended public health screening levels.

Cooperation with Monsanto

BASF is cooperating with Monsanto Company in research, development and marketing of biotechnology.

Further reading

  • Abelshauser, Werner. German History and Global Enterprise: BASF: The History of a Company (2004) covers 1865 to 2000
  • Beer, John J. The Emergence of the German Dye Industry (1959)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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