Haldor Topsoe

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Haldor Topsøe
Type A/S
Industry Chemicals
fuels and oils
natural gas
Founded 1940
Headquarters Ravnholm, Denmark
Key people Haldor Topsøe, Founder
Henrik Topsøe, Chairman of the Board
Bjerne S. Clausen, CEO
Products Catalyst portfolio
Technology portfolio
Technical service portfolio
Safety datasheets
Tech support
Revenue DKK 5,244 million (FY 2012)[1]
Operating income DKK 593 million
Net income DKK 415 million
Total assets DKK 5,503 million
Total equity DKK 1,422 million
Employees 2000+
Website www.topsoe.com

Haldor Topsøe is a Danish catalysis company, and was founded in 1940 by Dr. Haldor Topsøe. The company has over 2700 employees all over the world, of which 2100 work in Denmark.

Haldor Topsøe specialises in the production of heterogeneous catalysts and the design of process plants based on catalytic processes. Focus areas include the fertiliser industry, chemical and petrochemical industries, and the energy sector (refineries and power plants). Haldor Topsøe A/S is one of the world's leading companies within the field of heterogeneous catalysis, and appx. 50 percent of the fertiliser used on a worldwide scale is made with the help of technology from Haldor Topsøe.

In 2012, Haldor Topsøe A/S had a revenue of DKK 5.2 billion and an operating income of DKK 593 million before taxes (EBIT).[2]

The headquarters are located in Lyngby, a northern suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark, but the actual manufacturing of catalysts is carried out in Frederikssund, Denmark, and in Houston, Texas. The company has offices or subsidiaries in Bahrain, Canada, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South America, South Africa, and the USA. Haldor Topsøe’s catalysts and technologies are used to clean oil and ensure more environmentally friendly fuels, for cleaning power industry flue gasses, for converting hydrocarbon feedstocks such as natural gas and LPG into ammonia, hydrogen and methanol, and for reducing emission from heavy duty vehicles. In chemical plants catalysts and processes optimise resources, ensuring highly efficient energy processes.

The founder, Haldor Topsøe, died on May 20, 2013 after a short illness, four days before he would have reached the age of 100. He was the chairman of the company from its founding until his death. His son, Henrik Topsøe, is now Chairman of the Board and Executive Vice President while Bjerne S. Clausen is President and CEO.[3][4]


Haldor Topsøe A/S was founded in 1940 by Dr. Haldor Topsøe. During the Second World War, the company got permission to use the labs at the Polytechnic Educational Establishment, and in 1943 they moved to facilities in Hellerup, north of Copenhagen. The move meant that the company was now able to expand its field of work because of the access to additional equipment.

During the war, Topsøe worked as a consultancy company for several Swedish companies. The contact to Sweden was primarily arranged by the so-called Wallenberg group.

In 1944 Topsøe produced the first small batch of sulphuric acid catalysts. Another company success came in 1948 when the development of the first nickel catalyst was finalized. That same year, Topsøe began cooperating with Vargöns AB in Vargön, Sweden with the aim of producing a catalyst for ammonia synthesis.

Shortly after the war had come to an end, Topsøe became engaged in various activities in Mexico - activities that were connected to Topsøe's financial contacts in the US, including the World Bank. This lead to the company's involvement in the planning of Mexico's technical development as well as in the American agronomist Norman Borlaug's experiment with wheat in the Sonora region of Northern Mexico.

In the years following 1950, Topsøe renewed its contacts with the research environment of the Soviet Union, and maintained close contact for several years with both the scientific environment and organisations involved with engineering within the field of catalysis. In 1955, Topsøe established the French subsidiary Haldor Topsøe S.A. and opened an office in Paris. Throughout the years, Topsøe was involved in many industrial activities, some privately and some publicly governed, and built several industrial plants. One of the bigger projects, in which Topsøe was involved, was the construction of a heavy water plant in Northern France.

In 1958, Topsøe bought the estate Linderupgaard, situated outside Frederikssund, and the estate has been used for production of catalysts ever since.

Topsøe opened a department in New York in 1961, called Haldor Topsoe Inc., and four years later the company furthermore bought a lot in Houston, Texas that is now being used for one of Topsøe's production plants. In 1971 the office was moved from New York to Houston as well.

In the years 1971-1971, Topsøe established several big ammonia plants around the world. In 1972 the ownership of Topsøe changed from being a privately owned company to being a public limited company, owned 50/50 by both Haldor Topsøe and the Italian company Snamproggeti.

In 1973, the Topsøe headquarters moved from to Søborg from Vedbæk, where it has been situated since 1964. Just a year later in 1974, Topsøe moved the headquarters to its present location in Ravnholm.

In the beginning of the 1980s, Topsøe opened two offices in Asia - one in Delhi and one in Beijing. In the beginning of the 1990s to the mid 90's, Topsøe opened its two offices in Moscow and Jaroslavl in Russia, as well as a department in Los Angeles.

In 1999, Topsøe bought a new transmission electron microscope and thereby became the first company in the world that was able to see details down to 1.2 Angstrom.

In 2007, Haldor Topsøe finally managed to buy back all the shares from the Italian contracting company Saipem (the company that had bought Snamprogetti) for DKK 2.6 billion.[5] That same year, Haldor Topsøe's subsidiary, Topsoe Fuel Cell, initiated the construction of Denmark's first fuel cell production plant that produces high temperature solid oxide fuel cells (also known as SOFC) for environmentally friendly, green electricity and heat for trucks, houses, hospitals and super markets.[6]


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