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.
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.
Croda's first profitable year of trading.
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!
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.
Headquarters moved to a former vicarage in Snaith.
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.
Aware of the potential of the US market, Fred Wood went to New York to set-up an office; the foundations of Croda Inc.
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.
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.
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.
Croda Inc, USA purchased the lanolin business of Hummel Chemical Company, transferring production to a newly constructed plant at Newark, NJ.
Following the death of Sir Edward Crowe, Fred Wood became Chairman as well as Managing Director. Croda GmbH was established near Düsseldorf, Germany.
Croda became a public company. Croda Nippon was formed in Japan as a joint venture with Sansho Oil and Fat Trading.
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.
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.
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.
Croda South Africa and Croda Zimbabwe were formed.
Croda France and Croda Brazil were formed. Croda was truly international.
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
Chairman Fred Wood received a knighthood. A joint venture company was formed in Mexico, Quimica Croda SA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Lorenzos Oil
Croda bought Novarom, a German company specialising in plant extracts.
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).
Croda bought the STOA group, whose principal subsidiary, Sederma, is a world leader in active ingredients for skin care.
The acquisition of the Westbrook lanolin business made Croda the world’s largest lanolin manufacturer. Croda Iberica was formed in Spain.
Keith Hopkins was appointed Chairman, succeeding Michael Valentine on his retirement. Mike Humphrey, 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
Keith Hopkins retired as Chairman, and was succeeded by Antony Beevor (shown in image), a Non-executive Director of Croda and a Senior Advisor in the London corporate finance division of Societe Generale.
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.
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.
Major investment at Sederma site in France, which makes active ingredients for many leading personal care products.
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.
New Enterprise Technologies division formed to identify and commercialise new technologies, headed by Keith Layden. Martin Flower (pictured) appointed Chairman, succeeding Antony Beevor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
The new Acrylic Polymers plant is officially opened at Rawcliffe Bridge
The speciality products business of Arizona Chemical is acquired, adding a class leading range of oil gelling polymers to our portfolio. This technology has been applied across a number of our business areas, expanding our product portfolio, allowing our customers to offer unique and exciting formulations.
Ranked for the first time in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, listed at number 25.
Our first sites in Asia are awarded EFfCI (European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients) GMP certification
Our Campinas site is the first site of a speciality chemical supplier, in Latin America, to be EFfCI certified.
50 years as a public company, the only original chemical company remaining on the UK stock market from the 32 listed when we entered in 1964.
The acquisition of JD Horizons adds the leading FlowSolve™ range to our portfolio of speciality additives for oilfield chemicals.
State of the art laboratories and test salon opens in Singapore, this new Collaboration and Training Centre enables us to work more closely with our customers in the region.
CrodaTherm™ is launched; this unique bio-based phase change material maintains the temperature of the environment around a material.
Incroslip™ SL is launched, a breakthrough in slip and stability additives.
Work starts on our investment in a new manufacturing plant at Atlas Point that will help us produce the first 100% renewable non-ionic surfactants in North America
OmeRx™, our first major active Pharmaceutical ingredient (API), is launched in the North American pharmaceutical market through our partner Par Pharmaceutical. OmeRx™ is a very high purity mixture of Omega 3 fatty acids and is used clinically for the treatment of heart conditions.
Matrixyl™ is awarded the 25 Years of Innovation Award at in-cosmetics, recognising it as the product that has had the greatest impact on the Personal Care ingredients market in the last quarter-century.
The acquisition of Incotec extends our Crop Care expertise into the seed enhancement market. Their products and services help to enhance and improve seed performance, allowing greater functionality to be delivered directly to the seed to increase farming yields.
The speciality technology portfolio of Inventiva Ltda is acquired, adding Inventiva’s encapsulation and delivery system technologies to our already wide range of ingredients for the personal care industry. These innovative technologies will also be applied to other market sectors, enabling our customers to further benefit from this acquisition.
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