Solutia looks to provide industrial solutions by manufacturing plastics, films, and chemicals for the construction, automotive, and rubber manufacturing industries. The company operates through three segments. Its Technical Specialties unit manufactures specialty chemicals for rubber and transmission fluids customers through its Flexsys, Terminol, and Skydrol businesses. Its Advanced Interlayers unit produces polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sheet, which is used in the manufacture of glass. Performance Films makes various plastic films for use in glass, tapes, and packaging products. Solutia has operations in 50 locations worldwide. In 2012 the company was acquired by Eastman Chemical in a $4.7 billion deal.
The deal allows both companies to gain from economies of scale, including the reduction of corporate costs and raw material costs. It also gives Eastman Chemical access to new geographical markets.
Solutia markets its products under the brands names of Saflex, Crystex, Skydrol, Therminol, Clear Pass, Clean Machine, Astroturf, Vista, Gila, Formula One Performance Automotive Films, and LLumar Window Film. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
The company's revenues grew 21% in 2010, primarily on increased sales volumes across all of its business segments due to stronger demand in automotive and industrial sectors, particularly in Europe, North America and Asia. Solutia's Performance Films segment grew 36%; Advanced Interlayers gained 20%; and Technical Specialties were up 19%, all due at least in part to increases in the automotive industry. Net income swung to a profit from a significant loss due to lower operating expenses.
In a move to grow in the Asia/Pacific region, Solutia purchased some assets of Taiwan-based Aimcore Technology for its Performance Films business. Solutia's expansion in the region is to take advantage of the burgeoning mobile electronics and smart window markets. The deal increased its capacity to produce its Flexvue film components used in touch screens, solar applications, and e-readers. The company had also expanded its Performance Films unit in 2010 with the purchase of Singapore-based Novomatrix, which distributes window films. In 2011 Solutia acquired Southwall Technologies in an all cash deal worth approximately $113 million. The acquisition adds technology to the company's current portfolio of energy-saving films and glass products.
In 2010 Solutia added to its specialty chemicals business with the acquisition of German company Etimax Solar for $325 million. That company manufactures ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) encapsulants for the photovoltaic market. Solutia combined the new unit with its own polyvinyl butyral encapsulants, which are also used by the solar photovoltaic market. Solutia also acquired Vistasolarâ, another supplier of EVA encapsulants to the photovoltaic market, and Novomatrix, a distributor of performance window films.
That same year, the company sold its Perkalink business to German specialty chemicals firm LANXESS AG. Perkalink's chemical agents are used as an accelerator in the rubber vulcanization process.
Following its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008, Solutia made a decision to divest its nylon business in a strategy to focus on its performance materials and specialty chemicals businesses. In 2009 the company sold the segment to private equity group SK Capital Partners for about $50 million. – less