PQ Corporation minds its Ps and Qs when producing industrial chemicals. It is one of the world's largest producers of sodium silicates (a glass product made from sand). Glass-bead products from its Potters Industries affiliate are used in highway striping to reflect headlights. PQ's glass beads are also used to grind and process pigments for paints, inks, and cosmetics. Its potassium silicates are used in welding rods, soaps, and detergents. PQ's magnesium sulfate is used in animal feed, packaging, and pharmaceuticals. Zeolytst International (a partnership with a Royal Dutch Shell unit) makes zeolite-based catalysts and adsorbents for a range of chemical and petrochemical applications.
PQ Corporation markets about 40 different silica-based chemical and performance product lines and operates about 60 chemical and manufacturing sites worldwide.
The company's PQ moniker dates back to Philadelphia Quartz, which began selling sodium silicate in 1861
After more than a century and a half of family ownership, PQ Corporation has gone through several ownership changes in the latter half of this decade. It was owned by the founding Elkinton family until 2005, when the family sold the company to an affilite of JPMorgan Partners. JPMorgan then sold PQ to the Carlyle Group for $1.5 billion in 2007.
Not long after Carlyle Group acquired the company, it merged PQ with former competitor Ineos Silicas, creating a billion-dollar behemoth that still retained the name PQ Corporation.
In 2011 the company was 60% owned by the Carlyle Group and 40%owned by British chemicals giant INEOS Group (40%).
PQ Corporation traces its roots to a family soap and candle business opened by Joseph Elkinton in 1831 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. – less