The roots of ALTANA AG go back to the year 1873, when Dr. Heinrich Byk began producing chemicals. In 1941 Dr. Günther Quandt acquired the majority of shares in the subsequent. BYK-Chemie. From 1977 the company became part of the newly formed ALTANA AG.
Today ALTANA Group is organized in four divisions:
- BYK Additives & Instruments,
- ECKART Effect Pigments,
- ELANTAS Electrical Insulation and
- ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants
and is globally represented in the area of specialty chemicals with around 42 production sites.
Dr. Heinrich Byk founds the chemicals factory Dr. Heinrich Byk Chemische Fabrik in the Berlin district of Oranienburg (entered in the commercial register under No. 7595) and begins producing industrial and commercial chemicals.
Dr. Heinrich Byk Chemische Fabrik and Leipziger Farbwerke Paul Gulden & Co. (founded 1896) merge to form BYK-Guldenwerke Chemische Fabrik AG.
BYK-Guldenwerke starts production of cold asphalt for road construction (registered as Bykumen).
Following the acquisition of Ernst Lomberg–Photochemische Produkte (formed 1882), the company is renamed BYK-Gulden Lomberg.
The dispersing agent Anti-Terra is sold for the first time. Over the years Anti-Terra is steadily developed to become a world-famous product of our paint additives group.
Dr. Günther Quandt,
Chairman of the Board of Management of AFA (Akkumulatoren-Fabrik AG, later VARTA AG) acquires the majority of shares in BYK-Gulden Lomberg and becomes Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
90 percent of the production and office premises in Berlin are completely destroyed. For safety reasons, during the war, valuable documents and formulations are stored in a safe of the Deutsche Bank in Constance. At the end of the war, the company relocates to Constance and changes its name to BYK-Gulden.
Upon the death of Günther Quandt, his son Dr. Herbert Quandt together with his brother Harald built up the conglomerate to an overall complex of 17 companies, included Varta (formerly called AFA) and BYK-Gulden.
AFA is renamed into Varta (German acronym for marketing, charging, repair of transportable batteries)
BYK-Gulden breaks ground for the Wesel facilities, today the head quarters of ALTANA and its three business units and the additive production site of BYK-Chemie, with high tech laboratories for research, development and application technology.
BYK-Chemie USA is founded to develop the additive business in the American market. In 1981 the company relocates to Wallingford.
BYK-Gulden merges its additives business with the radiopharmaceuticals business of Mallinckrodt Inc., USA to form BYK-Mallinckrodt Chemische Produkte GmbH, Wesel.
BBusch Jäger (predecessor to ALTANA AG and subsidiary of Varta AG) buys Rhenania GmbH, Grevenbroich. The company, founded in 1915, specializes in the manufacture of can and foil coatings.
The split of Varta AG results in the formation of three separate companies. One of these is the present ALTANA AG, based in Wesel, formerly Bad Homburg.
BYK-Chemie Japan is founded in Osaka, initially marketing additives in the whole of East and Southeast Asia, today concentrating on the Japanese market.
BYK-Mallinckrodt GmbH is dissolved.BYK-Chemie GmbH, Wesel is formed as a 100% subsidiary of ALTANA AG, specializing in the additives business.
BYK-Chemie acquires a 48% stake in and, from 1986, complete ownership of Labotron AG, Geretsried, renamed BYK-Gardner in 1989. The company, founded in 1962, develops and produces precision instruments for the characterization of appearance, gloss or color.
ALTANA Chemie, the Chemicals Division of ALTANA AG is created, with its head quarters at the Wesel site. It comprises the following entities:
BYK-Chemie: USA – France – Japan – USA (Additive)
BYK-Labotron GmbH (Messinstrumente)
Rhenania GmbH (Lacke).
BYK-Chemie Korea is founded with its head quarter in Seoul.
Acquisition of the Gardner Lab., US, now trading asBYK-Gardner, USA (Columbia, MD). Since 1924, the company has developed and produced instruments in the USA.
The acquisition of Dr. Wiedeking (Kempen, Germany) lays the foundation for the growth of a global wire enamel business. The company was founded in 1947 and is now among the key suppliers of wire enamels in Europe. In 2005 Wiedeking merged with Beck Electrical Insulation.
BYK-Chemie acquires the Dutch firm of CERA Chemie B.V. based at Deventer. The company, renamed BYK-Cera, was formed in 1972 and develops / produces wax additives.
The acquisition of Deatech (Ascoli Piceno, Italy), founded in 1989, accelerates the expansion of the wire enamel business.
Rhenacoat France is acquired, a manufacturer of packaging coatings (can coatings) based at Sedan, France.
DS-Chemie (Bremen, Germany) is acquired, since 1920 a specialist in the production of sealing compounds for closures.
Purchase of the P.D. George Company (St. Louis, Mo, USA). Since 1919 the family business has manufactured wire enamels, compounds and varnishes in the USA.
Acquisition of La Artistica. The company, founded in 1906 near Vigo, Spain, produces sealing compounds for tin cans.
Formation of BYK-Chemie Asia-Pacificat Singapore. Other sales offices and laboratories are located in China, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Formation of Shunde-Rhenacoat(Shunde, China). The company produces special packaging coatings.
High-performance wire enamels of ALTANA Chemie conquer Mars. During the Mars Pathfinder mission, the small Sojourner mobile operates using wire enamel coatings supplied by Wiedeking.
Acquisition of Camattini(Collechio near Parma, Italy). Camattini was formed in 1962 and produces compounds for the electrical industry and casting resins for tools.
Acquisition of Tongling Siva Insulating Materials(Tongling, China). Since 1995 the company has produced wire enamels.
Terra Lacke(Lehrte, Germany), a specialist since 1948 in overprint varnishes, is acquired.
The business activities of ALTANA Chemie are organized into divisions (Status 05/2006):
Additives & Instruments:
BYK-Chemie Wesel, BYK-Chemie USA, BYK-Gardner, BYK-Cera, BYK-Chemie Japan, BYK-Chemie Korea, BYK-Chemie Asia Pacific, BYK-Chemie Tongling.
Coatings & Sealants:
DS-Chemie, Rhenania, Kelstar International, Rad-Cure,Terra Lacke, Shunde Rhenacoat, La Artistica
P.D. George, Deatech, Beck Electrical Insulation, Tongling SIVA, Beck India, Camattini, Sterling, ALTANA Electrical Insulation Zhuhai, ALTANA Isolantes Eléctricos do Brasil
ECKART Deutschland, ECKART America, ECKART Asia, ECKART Benelux, ECKART Switzerland, ECKART France, ECKART Finland, ECKART Italia, ECKART UK (2005 akquiriert)
Sterling, wire enamel manufacturer based at Manchester, England, looks back on over a century of tradition and becomes part of the business unit ALTANA Electrical Insulation. As of 2004 Epoxylite (formed in 1954), Manchester, also acquired in 2002, is integrated into Sterling.
Acquisition of the entire electrical insulation business of Schenectady. Beck Electrical Insulation (Hamburg, Germany), manufacturer of impregnating varnishes since 1904, and Beck India (Pune, India), founded in 1956, become members of the ALTANA Chemie family.
ALTANA Coatings & Sealants is the first business unit to use nanotechnology to effectively slow down gas diffusion from plastic containers (barrier coating).
BYK-Chemielaunches the first nano-additives on the market, NANOBYK-3600 and 3601 for scratchproof coatings.
ALTANA Electrical Insulation Zhuhai is founded and started up as production site for wire enamels and impregnating resins. It is ALTANA Chemie’s fourth production site in China.
The ECKART-Gruppe becomes fourth division "Effect Pigments" of ALTANA.
ECKART ( founded in 1876 ) is a leading international manufacturer of metallic pigments for the paints and coatings industry, the graphic arts industry, the plastics, lightweight concrete industries and the cosmetics industry. The product range today encompasses all kinds of metallic effect pigments and even press-ready metallic printing inks. Pearlescent pigments round off the range.
Global presence enables ECKART to identify customer requirements at an early stage and to react quickly and flexibly. Intensive research and development activities create special products, innovative solutions and constant improvements in a wide variety of fields.
Acquisition of Kelstar International(Cinnaminson, NJ, USA) in October 2005.
Kelstar International is a leading US producer of water based and UV curable overprint coatings for the paper and board packaging sector.
In February 2006, Rad-Cure (Fairfield, NJ, USA) is acquired.
Rad-Cure is a specialist in the field of overprint UV curable coatings and adhesives for the paper and board packaging sector.
Strategic and geographic expansion of division Electrical Insulation in the Mercosur Area
ALTANA acquires electrical insulation production of INVEX in Brasil and founded ALTANA Isolantes Elétricos do Brasil Ltda., located in Cerquilho.
After the total integration of the former Schenctady business into the plant within the coming 12 months, AIE do Brasil will be a prominent manufacturer of electrical insulation resins in South America.
This foothold facility could provide a base for the expansion or entry of other divisions in the interesting South American market.
New Group Profile Since January 2007
After the divestment of the pharmaceuticals activities ALTANA focuses on its specialty chemicals business. The ALTANA Group now is composed of the Bad Homburg-based strategic management holding company, ALTANA AG.
- Development of technical on-site support: BYK opens new labs in Southeast-Asia (Langfang & Singapore)
- BYK acquires Bergen Materials Corp., USA to expand the additives business
- ECKART acquires effect pigments business from Wolstenholme Group Ltd., UK. The acquired business comprises bronze and aluminum pigments.
- BYK acquires former ELANTAS production site in Kempen
- ELANTAS and BYK open new production plants in Tongling, China
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