Innovation and Employees

ALTANA’s products and services are geared to offering our customers special solutions and giving them a competitive edge. Our customers perceive us as experts and we are usually integrated in their product development process at an early stage. To be able to maintain or consolidate our position as one of the leading specialty chemicals companies, we have to steadily grow our competencies and continuously expand our own product portfolio.

In the Group’s divisional research and development facilities, our product portfolio is steadily developed further. In addition to existing applications in current or new markets, activities to develop new applications for these markets are a focal point. To be able to tap into new fields of business, we identify the needs of our customers and incorporate them in the development of new solutions.

To interlink the Group’s diversified knowhow and competencies across industries and technologies, selected research and development projects are initiated and coordinated centrally at the Group level. Via external networks and close cooperation with universities and research institutes, external impetus is absorbed and the possibility of using it in the Group is examined. In the 2016 fiscal year, we expanded these activities significantly. Four projects were initiated which in the next three years should generate new knowledge for ALTANA in promising technology segments.

Examples of projects that are pushed forward centrally via ALTANA’s holding company are undertakings in the field of Printed Electronics, on the one hand, and our strategic digital-printing partnership with the Israeli Landa group, on the other. Our divisions will be able to benefit from this development potential to different extents.

The basis of our innovative strength is a worldwide research and development network encompassing 1,021 employees at present. In the year under review, expenses for research and development activities amounted to € 129.3 million (previous year: € 128.1 million).

The continued high share of research and development expenses in sales of 6.2 % (previous year: 6.2 %) is yet another expression of our innovation focus.

In the course of 2016, the number of people employed by the ALTANA Group fell by 129, or 2 %, to 5,967 (previous year: 6,096). The decrease was primarily due to the sale of the ACTEGA Colorchemie group.

In the BYK division, the number of employees rose by 71 to 2,055 people (previous year: 1,984). The acquisition of Addcomp companies in the Netherlands and the U.S. in the middle of the year accounted for the largest share of this increase. In addition, the division’s workforce grew in the additives business in the U.S. and the instruments business in Germany.

The number of employees in the ECKART division decreased by 57 to 1,748 people (previous year: 1,805) due to company restructuring initiated in 2015. The reduction primarily concerned the German sites in Hartenstein and Wackersdorf. The division dissolved its own sales organization in Great Britain in 2016. The number of employees in the U.S. increased because business activities were expanded.

In the course of the year, the workforce of the ELANTAS division remained constant (976 employees compared to 977 in 2015). But the development within the division was non-uniform. The workforce in production was reduced, while the number of employees in research and development increased by almost the same amount. In terms of regions, the decrease in staff primarily concerned Germany. 

ACTEGA’s headcount fell by 162 employees to 1,081 (previous year: 1,243), the biggest decrease of all the divisions. The main reason for this was the sale of the ACTEGA Colorchemie group with 151 employees. In addition, ACTEGA reduced its workforce at sites in China and Brazil. By contrast, the number of employees increased at its manufacturing sites in Germany and Spain.

The functional structure of the workforce did not alter significantly in 2016. With 52 %, or 3,114 people (previous year: 3,216), most of the employees continued to work in production, although this area recorded the biggest decrease in staff of all the functional areas (-102 employees), primarily due to the sale of the ACTEGA Colorchemie group. The number of people employed in research and development also fell, by 28 to 1,021 people in 2016 (previous year: 1,049).

The headcount in marketing and sales, as well as administration, remained nearly unchanged in the course of 2016. Administrative functions continued to have the smallest share of employees Group-wide, with 873 people working in this area in 2016 (previous year: 876).

In terms of regions, there were only slight shifts in 2016. The European Group companies continued to employ by far the largest number of people worldwide (3,850 compared to 3,991 in the previous year). At the end of the year, 3,126 people worked in Germany (previous year: 3,255), the majority of them at ECKART’s and BYK’s largest production and development sites, in Hartenstein and Wesel, respectively. Staff levels in the Americas increased slightly, from 1,352 people in 2015 to 1,376 people at the end of 2016. By contrast, the number of employees in the Asian Group companies decreased slightly, from 753 in the previous year to 741 staff members.

At the end of the 2016 fiscal year, 1,552 women and 4,415 men worked at ALTANA. On the balance-sheet date, 90 % of all employees had an unlimited employment contract and 10 % a limited employment contract. This ratio was the same for both genders. Of the women employees, 77 % worked full-time and 23 % part-time at the end of 2016. 98 % of the male employees worked full-time. Apart from its own employees, the ALTANA Group had 179 contract workers at the end of 2016.

ALTANA competes internationally for specialists and managers. Like all companies in the chemical industry, in the years to come the ALTANA Group, particularly in Europe, will enter a phase that due to the demographic development makes precise succession planning indispensable already today. To be able to hold our own in this environment, we launched further initiatives and implemented various measures in 2016. All measures introduced to strengthen ALTANA’s corporate culture and to further develop our human resource management are carried out based on our Guiding Principles. By concentrating on the values that are enshrined in these principles and communicating them transparently, we ensure that our staff management and our actions have a common orientation. A special focus in 2016 was our Leadership & Talent Management, which was anchored not only in terms of processes but also organizationally in ALTANA’s holding company. With new instruments and development possibilities, we should be able to implement structured succession planning even more effectively in the future.

Human resource development is very important in ALTANA’s agenda for the future, the Keep Changing Agenda. “Mobilizing people” is one of the strategic thrusts for the coming years. This includes promoting diversity, effective succession planning, and the strengthening of international mobility.

Declaration of Corporate Governance Pursuant to Section 289a (4) of the German Commercial Code (HGB)
Promoting women in management positions remained a focus in the 2016 fiscal year. By intensifying measures that had been introduced in the past, and with new instruments, we further anchored the expansion of diversity in our human resource management. One focus was promoting women. The ratio of women in ALTANA’s national and international management development programs has been significantly increased in recent years. In addition, our further education program includes special offers for women. The mentoring program launched in 2015 as a pilot project was extended to other Group sites in 2016. Furthermore, various informal platforms were created to promote dialog on this issue in general. Among them are regular meetings of women in management positions that focus on strengthening the network, and workshops for further development of familyfriendly employment models intended to contribute to continual improvement of the general working conditions at ALTANA.

ALTANA’s medium- to long-term goal is to increase the share of women in management positions to the percentage of women in the entire workforce.

In keeping with the requirements of the law regarding equal participation of women in management positions in private business and the public service sector, ALTANA AG’s Supervisory Board specified target figures for the proportion of women in the company’s Supervisory and Management Boards by June 30, 2017. Following the reorganization of the Management Board in 2015 within the framework of the generation change, the Supervisory Board is not planning to expand this body. Therefore, the target quota to be achieved by June 30, 2017, does not account for a woman in ALTANA’s Management Board. For the Supervisory Board, a target of 25 % was specified.

The Management Board defined corresponding target figures for the two management levels of ALTANA AG below the Management Board. For the first management level below the Management Board of ALTANA AG, a target of 10 % is to be achieved by June 30, 2017, and for the second management level the target is 30 %. Target figures were also stipulated for the German subsidiaries subject to codetermination.