Celanese Corporation gets a lot of good ink about its acetates. The company's primary operations include the manufacture of building block chemicals like acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomers. Those chemicals are used in everything from inks and paints to agricultural products and chewing gum. Canadian subsidiary Acetex, the majority of whose sales come from Europe, is the world's largest acetyls manufacturer. Other products include acetate tow (in cigarette filters); industrial specialties like ethylene vinyl aceta; and engineered plastics. The bulk of sales come from the US and Germany.
Celanese operates through four business segments: Advanced Engineered Materials, Consumer Specialties, Industrial Specialties, and Acetyl Intermediates. The company is one of the world's largest producers of acetyl products, as well as a top global producer of engineered polymers.
In addition to manufacturing sites in the US, it also has properties, plants, and equipment in Belgium, China, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Singapore.
Celanese continued its recovery from the recession of 2008-09 with a 14% increase in revenues in 2011, due primarily to higher volumes and increased sales prices across most of its business segments. The largest gains were in its Industrial Specialties unit (up 18%), Advanced Engineered Materials unit (up 17%), and its Acetyl Intermediates segment (up 15%). Net income grew by 61% in 2011, as increased revenues outpaced a more modest growth in operating expenses.
Celanese's strategy is to grow the company through expansion into emerging regions, particularly China; to offer innovation through developing new products and applications; increase its productivity through energy reduction, business process improvements, and manufacturing optimization; and boost its portfolio by growing its business through both acquisitions or internal growth.
In 2012 the company teamed up with Indonesia's Pertamina, forming a joint venture to develop fuel ethanol projects in that country.
To grow its emulsion polymers business, in 2011 the company acquired two product lines, Vinac and Flexbond, from Ashland. The acquisition is expected to speed up growth of the company's emulsion polymers operations throughout the Americas -- especially in the adhesives, textiles, coatings, and paper segments.
Celanese subsidiary Ticona Engineering Polymers acquired two product lines, Zenite liquid crystal polymer and Thermx polycyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate, from DuPont Performance Polymers division in 2010. The units expanded Celanese's offerings in the electrical and electronics application segments of the global polymers market.
In 2012 Capital Research Global Investors owned about 11% of Celanese, with several other investment firms owning a smaller stakes.
Celanese Corporation was created in 2004 by the Blackstone Group, which had acquired a majority share in Celanese AG, turned it private, and then flipped it in a 2005 public offering. Blackstone finally divested its remaining holdings in Celanese in 2007. – less