Innovation and Employees

ALTANA’s products and services are geared to offering our customers special solutions and giving them a competitive edge. Our customers recognize us as specialists and we are usually integrated in their product development process at an early stage. To be able to maintain or further 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 decentralized 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 knowhow and competencies across industries and technologies, selected research and development projects are coordinated and initiated centrally at the Group level. Via external networks and close cooperation with universities and research institutes, impetus from outside the company is absorbed and the possibility of using it in the Group is examined.

Examples of projects that are pushed forward centrally are undertakings in the field of printed electronics, on the one hand, and our strategic digital-printing partnership with Landa on the other. By further developing both fields of business, we expect to be able to tap new potential for the future. Our divisions will be able to benefit from this to different extents.

The basis of our innovative strength is a worldwide research and development network with 1,049 employees at present. In the year under review, expenses for research and development activities amounted to € 128.1 million (previous year: € 113.9 million), a 12 % increase over the previous year. This rise and the continued high share of research and development expenses in sales of 6.2 % (previous year: 5.8 %) are yet another expression of our innovation focus.

To ensure that our research and development activities are geared to our Group targets, the R & D project portfolio is controlled in close cooperation between the Group’s holding company and the decentralized divisions. The definition of our R & D strategy and its effects on our R & D portfolio management are just as important as the development and standardization of control instruments and measuring methods for evaluating R & D projects and strategic measures.

Research and development expenses

Employees in research and development

At the end of 2015, the companies of the ALTANA Group employed 6,096 people worldwide (previous year: 6,064). In the course of the year, the workforce remained at a stable level, with an increase of 32 people or 1 %.

In the BYK division, the number of employees rose by 81 to 1,984 people (previous year: 1,903). As in the previous year, its headquarters in Wesel and the division’s U.S. companies accounted for the largest share of the increase. In addition, the number of staff members in the Netherlands went up due to the continuous expansion of wax-additive activities. New employees in production accounted for half of the division’s workforce increase.

The number of employees in the ECKART division decreased by 45 to 1,805 people (previous year: 1,850). Due to ongoing difficult market conditions and weak business development, restructuring measures were taken at the Hartenstein and Wackersdorf sites in 2015.

In the course of the year, the ELANTAS division increased the number of employees slightly by 7 people to 977 (previous year: 970). The increase primarily related to the division’s Italian sites on account of the transfer of production volumes from other ELANTAS sites.

ACTEGA’s headcount decreased by 16 employees to 1,243 (previous year: 1,259). The number of employees fell prior to the merger of two U.S. companies and because ACTEGA’s site in China reduced its workforce in administration by a few people.

The structure of the workforce did not alter significantly in 2015. With still 53 %, or 3,216 people (previous year: 3,205), most of the employees worked in production. The number of people employed in research and development rose to 1,049 at the end of 2015 (previous year: 1,019). With an increase of 30 employees this area recorded the biggest growth of all functional areas. The workforce in marketing and sales, however, decreased slightly, to 955 (previous year: 972). Administrative functions continued to have the smallest share of employees group-wide, with 876 people working in this area on December 31, 2015 (previous year: 868).

There was also only a slight shift in geographical terms in 2015. The European Group companies continued to employ the largest number of employees worldwide (3,991 compared to 3,965 in the previous year). At the end of the year, 3,256 people were employed in Germany (previous year: 3,259), the majority of them at ECKART’s and BYK’s largest production and development sites, in Hartenstein and Wesel, respectively.

The number of staff in the Americas increased slightly, from 1,348 in 2014 to 1,352 people in 2015.

The number of employees of the Asian Group companies also rose slightly, from 751 in the previous year to 753employees.

ALTANA is competing internationally for specialists and managers. To hold our own in this environment, we launched new initiatives and implemented further measures in 2015. All of the measures introduced to strengthen our corporate culture and to tweak our human resources management are based on our Guiding Principles. By concentrating on our enshrined and transparently communicated values, we ensure that our activities and staff management develop in uniform ways.

In 2014, a global employee survey was held, and last year the analysis and discussion of the results continued. Employees at all ALTANA sites worldwide dealt with the local results and worked out individual recommendations for action to improve the respective corporate culture locally and shape it more actively.

In the 2015 fiscal year, we continued with the rollout of the management check we began in 2014. With this instrument, we ensure that ALTANA’s Guiding Principles and corporate culture are taken into account as important criteria in the process of selecting potential managers. The management check is not only applied in the choice of external managers, but also regarding internal vacancies, at all German and U.S. companies. Its introduction at ALTANA’s Asian sites is currently being prepared.

Declaration of Corporate Governance Pursuant to Section 289a (4) of the German Commercial Code (HGB)
Promoting women in management positions was a special focus in the 2015 fiscal year. By intensifying measures that had been introduced in the past, and with new instruments, we further anchored the promotion of gender diversity in our human-resources management. One focus was promoting women in human-resources development. The proportion of women in ALTANA’s various national and international management development programs was increased significantly in recent years. In addition, our further education program includes special offers for women. Launched as a pilot at our Wesel site, a new mentoring program was introduced. It will be extended to other Group sites in 2016. We also initiated a forum enabling women managers and a female member of the Supervisory Board to exchange views. Furthermore, various informal platforms were created to intensify dialog on this issue. Among them are regular meetings of women in management positions that focus on strengthening the network, and workshops for further development  of family-friendly employment models intended to contribute to the 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 30 %. That roughly corresponds to the percentage of women in the entire workforce.

In keeping with the requirements of the law that went into effect in April 2015 regarding equal participation of women in management positions in private business and the public-service sector, ALTANA’s Supervisory Board was obliged to specify target figures for the proportion of women in its Supervisory and Management Boards by June 30, 2017. The Management Board had to define corresponding target figures for ALTANA AG’s two management levels below the Management Board. Due to the reorganization of the Management Board carried out as part of the recent generation change, the Supervisory Board does not plan to enlarge this body. This is why the target specified by June 30, 2017, does not account for a woman in ALTANA’s Management Board. A target of 25 % was specified for the Supervisory Board. For the first management level below ALTANA AG’s Management Board, a target of 10 % was defined by June 30, 2017, and a target of 30 % was agreed upon for the second level. Targets were also defined for the company’s German subsidiaries subject to codetermination.

Employees by division

Employees by functional area

Employees by region