Croda: World Leaders in Speciality Chemicals

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Our history

    • 1925

      Croda was founded at Rawcliffe Bridge

      Croda was founded at Rawcliffe Bridge in Yorkshire by Mr Crowe and Mr Dawe to make lanolin, the refined form of wool grease. Crowe's nephew, A P (Phillip) Wood was appointed manager.

      In October, the first order for three barrels of lanolin left the factory by horse and cart for Rawcliffe station.

    • 1930

      Trading was difficult

      Trading was difficult, but fortune smiled when a report from the National Physical Laboratory showed that lanolin is an effective rust preventive, opening up new markets, notably engineering and the developing automotive industry.

    • 1931

      Croda's first profitable year

      Croda's first profitable year of trading.

    • 1939

      The outbreak of war

      The outbreak of war led to collaboration with the Government to produce a variety of wartime specialities including hydraulic oils, camouflage creams and insect repellent - over six million tins!

    • 1945

      Croda's first Technical Director

      Edgar Lower, who had joined the company in 1932 as a 14-year-old to help in the laboratory, became Croda's first Technical Director. His particular interest was the use of lanolin as a natural ingredient in cosmetics.

    • 1946

      Headquarters moved to Snaith.

      Headquarters moved to a former vicarage in Snaith.

    • 1949

      The end of the war

      The end of the war meant that many of Croda's markets had disappeared. To compound problems, A P Wood died at the age of 46. The future looked bleak. Croda opted for a committee in charge, with Fred Wood, the son of A P Wood, appointed Sales Director at the age of 23.

    • 1950

      The US market

      Aware of the potential of the US market, Fred Wood went to New York to set-up an office; the foundations of Croda Inc.

    • 1953

      Leading cosmetic companies

      In the 1950s many leading cosmetic companies began to incorporate Croda products into their formulations.

      Fred Wood returned to the UK to become Managing Director. He was succeeded in the US by Mike Cannon.

    • 1954

      Croda's first major merger

      Croda's first major merger with C M Keyworth of Leek, a supplier of fatty acid esters, spearheaded a period of steady organic growth.

      George Crowe died and was succeeded as Chairman by his brother, Sir Edward.

    • 1955

      Headquarters transferred to Cowick Hall

      Headquarters transferred to Cowick Hall, a beautiful but neglected mansion, which was formerly the country seat of Viscount Downe.

      Croda Italiana was formed at Mortara.

    • 1957

      Lanolin business

      Croda Inc, USA purchased the lanolin business of Hummel Chemical Company, transferring production to a newly constructed plant at Newark, NJ.

    • 1960

      Sir Edward Crowe

      Following the death of Sir Edward Crowe, Fred Wood became Chairman as well as Managing Director.

      Croda GmbH was established near Düsseldorf, Germany.

    • 1964

      Croda became a public company

      Croda became a public company.

      Croda Nippon was formed in Japan as a joint venture with Sansho Oil and Fat Trading.

    • 1967

      Croda decided to expand by acquisition

      Croda decided to expand by acquisition, with its first target the United Premier Oil Company, a long established oil seed crushing/refining company. Its subsidiary, the Universal Oil Company, manufactured fatty acids - the basic material of the oleochemical industries.

    • 1968

      British Glues and Chemicals was acquired

      British Glues and Chemicals was acquired - one of the two major UK gelatin producers. This was followed by Bowmans Chemicals, a manufacturer of food acids and specialised chemicals for metal finishing.

      Croda Canada and Croda Australia were formed.

    • 1970

      Croda bought L&H Holdings

      Croda bought L&H Holdings, two factories at Hull and Barking which modified vegetable oils for use in paints and inks. This was followed by A B Fleming, a collection of companies making printing inks and synthetic resins.

    • 1971

      South Africa Zimbabwe

      Croda South Africa and Croda Zimbabwe were formed.

    • 1974

      Croda was truly international

      Croda France and Croda Brazil (image left) were formed. Croda was truly international.

    • 1975

      Croda celebrated its 50th anniversary

      Croda celebrated its 50th anniversary. Profits had risen from £12000 pa in 1950 to £12 million, with worldwide sales of £128 million.

      Growth continued via strategic acquisitions, notably Midland Yorkshire Holdings, (synthetic chemicals and tar products), and Kenneth Thelwall, (blended oils and greases).

    • 1977

      Chairman Fred Wood received a knighthood

      Chairman Fred Wood received a knighthood.

      A joint venture company was formed in Mexico, Quimica Croda SA.

    • 1980

      Croda's most difficult year since going public

      Record interest rates and the strength of sterling led to the collapse of UK manufacturing output. This was Croda's most difficult year since going public.

    • 1982

      Takeover bid by Burmah Oil

      Croda successfully fought off a takeover bid by Burmah Oil. As a result, its strategy changed from being a diversified conglomerate to sticking with businesses it knew best.

    • 1986

      Sir Frederick Wood retired as Chairman

      Sir Frederick Wood retired as Chairman. He was succeeded by Mike Cannon, formerly head of US operations, with Keith Hopkins as Group Chief Executive.

      Croda Singapore was formed.

    • 1988

      A major £9 million project

      A major £9 million project began to modernise and expand the Rawcliffe Bridge factory.

      Croda bought the Chemicals division of John Kerr & Co, a company which made fire fighting foams and powders.

    • 1989

      Mike Cannon retired as Chairman

      Mike Cannon retired as Chairman, to be succeeded by Michael Valentine, a merchant banker from Warburgs who had advised Croda on many major acquisitions.

    • 1990

      Croda Universal developed Lorenzo's Oil

      The new factory at Rawcliffe Bridge came on stream. The Group focused increasingly on its core speciality chemicals business, with major capital investment programmes in the UK, USA, Singapore and Japan.

      Croda Universal developed Lorenzo's Oil for the treatment of a young boy with ALD (adrenoleukodystrophy) - a story which was made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie.

    • 1991

      Specialising in plant extracts

      Croda bought Novarom, a German company specialising in plant extracts.

    • 1993

      Global expansion

      Croda Hong Kong was formed, followed by Croda Nordica (Sweden) and Croda Poland (1994), Croda India (1995), Croda Shanghai (China) and Czech Republic (1996) and Hungary (1997).

    • 1997

      Ingredients for skin care

      Croda bought the STOA group, whose principal subsidiary, Sederma, is a world leader in active ingredients for skin care.

    • 1998

      World's largest lanolin manufacturer

      The acquisition of the Westbrook lanolin business made Croda the world’s largest lanolin manufacturer.

      Croda Iberica was formed in Spain.

    • 1999

      Keith Hopkins was appointed Chairman

      Keith Hopkins was appointed Chairman, succeeding Michael Valentine on his retirement. Mike Humphrey (image left), who had progressed from management trainee in 1969 to heading up the successful Oleochemicals business in 1995, was appointed Group Chief Executive.

      Croda Argentina was formed.

    • 2000

      Croda celebrated its 75th anniversary

      A new $50 million speciality chemicals complex was opened in Singapore - Croda's largest ever single investment and one of world’s most advanced chemical complexes.

      Croda Korea was formed.

    • 2001

      Keith Hopkins retired as Chairman

      Keith Hopkins retired as Chairman, and was succeeded by Antony Beevor (image left), a Non-executive Director of Croda and a Senior Advisor in the London corporate finance division of Societe Generale.

    • 2002

      Environmentally friendly

      Croda Brazil launched Crodamazon, a range of oils derived from the '‘Fruits of the Amazon Rainforest’', which involved working in an environmentally friendly manner with local communities living alongside the banks of the Amazon. A factory was established in Manaus, located in the heart of the Rainforest, to refine the oils.

    • 2003

      Naturally derived products

      Croda Chemicals Europe was formed to improve the focus on the groups main markets, Health Care and Personal Care.

      Croda today is a focused speciality chemicals company, selling an exciting range of naturally derived products.

      Croda Thailand was formed in Bangkok.

    • 2004

      Major investment

      Major investment at Sederma site in France (pictured), which makes active ingredients for many leading personal care products.

    • 2004

      Croda Inc officially opens new HQ

      Croda Inc officially opened its North American Headquarters and Innovation Center in Edison, NJ.

      Croda Canada transferred to new premises in Vaughan, Ontario.

      1% Club launched giving employees paid leave to get involved in community projects.

    • 2005

      New Enterprise Technologies division formed

      New Enterprise Technologies division formed to identify and commercialise new technologies, headed by Keith Layden.

      Martin Flower (pictured) appointed Chairman, succeeding Antony Beevor.

    • 2006

      A year of transformation

      Croda China opened in Shenzhen.

      Croda announces acquisition of Uniqema from ICI. Uniqema is a global manufacturer and supplier of base oleochemicals and chemical specialities for a wide range of markets.

    • 2007

      Croda Colombia formed in Bogota

      Croda Colombia formed in Bogota. Successful integration of Uniqema continues, almost trebling the size of the group and extending Croda's geographic spread to virtually every country worldwide.

    • 2008

      The results of the successful integration of Uniqema

      The results of the successful integration of Uniqema are reflected in record results with sales of £886 million and profit before tax of £60.9 million.

      New structure announced with two major divisions: Consumer Care and Industrial Specialities. With Uniqema now fully integrated into the business, Croda now has 43 sites in 36 countries, and is well placed to face the challenges of the 21st century.

    • 2010

      A £1 billion company with offices to match

      Turnover reached £1 billion for the first time as Croda continued an unbroken run of continued sales and profit growth over the past ten years.
      New offices were completed at Croda's HQ, primarily to house European commercial functions. The new offices are heated by geothermal heat from water 100 meters underground, honouring our continued commitment to minimise environmental impact.

    • 2011

      Change at the top as Group Chief retires after 42 years

      Mike Humphrey announces his retirement as Group Chief Executive after 42 years' service. Steve Foots is appointed as Croda's new Chief Executive tasked with leading Croda to further growth and future success.
      Steve joined Croda in 1990 as a graduate trainee.

      Keith Layden is appointed to the board of directors in his new role of Chief Technology Officer. The role is created to accelerate the development and acquisition of innovative technologies, critical to Croda's success.

    • 2012

      Stem Cell Technology Acquisition

      Croda confirms acquisition of IRB (Instituto di Ricerche Biotechnologiche s.p.a), Italy who is a world leader in plant cell culture biotechnology. The business focuses on development of commercial ingredients orginating from plant cell culture for use in industries such as personal care anti-ageing products.

      March 2012 also saw Croda join the FTSE 100 Index of the London Stock Exchange. The FTSE 100 is comprised of the one hundred companies listed in the UK with the highest market values, and is the usual measure of stock market performance watched by investors and commentators around the world.

    • 2013

      Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporation

      Croda is placed number one in the UK and number 25 in the world on the "Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations" report.
      This prestigious recognition confirms Croda's overall business strategy as sustainable and continuing to deliver long-term success. The criteria for the award not only looks at financial success but other key areas of sustainability such as environmental impact and employee investment.

      In July, Croda announces that it has acquired a 65% equity interest in Sichuan Sipo Chemical Co. LTD (SIPO), a non-listed natural speciality chemicals manufacturer based in Mianyang City, Sichuan Province, China.
      A state of the art, well invested production facility, this acquistion strengthens existing operations across China and the Group's overall position in Asia. Sipo will also consolidate Croda's global leadership in fatty acid amides and add new technology that will enable the Group to expand the portfolio across a number of core markets