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 2015, 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.