Lonza Group

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Lonza Group AG
Type Stock company
Traded as SIXLONN, SGX: O6Z
Industry Chemicals, biotechnology
Founded 1897
Key people Richard Ridinger (CEO), Rolf Soiron (Chairman)
Products Biopharmaceuticals, organic and fine chemicals, chemical synthesis equipment, custom manufacturing of chemicals and related products
Employees 11,001 (1 January 2012)
Website www.lonza.com

Lonza Group is a Swiss chemicals and biotechnology company, headquartered in Basel. The firm provides a number of products and services to the pharmaceutical and life science industries, including organic fine and performance chemicals, custom manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, chemical synthesis capabilities and chemicals, endotoxin detection systems and services for the bioscience sector.


In 1897, Lonza Electricity Works has been founded in Gampel, in the canton of Valais. Lonza is named after the river, which origins in the Lötschental. The produced electricity was used to manufacture calcium carbide and acetylene. In 1909, Lonza moved to Visp where initially synthetic fertilizers had been manufactured. In 1920, the production of ketene and diketene started - an area where Lonza is still active today. In 1950, the Niacin business (vitamin B3) was started. A proprietary Naphta cracker – which is one of the smallest cracker in the world due to the amount of 30’0000 tons of acetylene per year - was launched in Visp in 1965. In 1969, the company expanded to the US market. In 1974, Lonza was merged with Alusuisse and served as the subsidiary Chemistry division of the Alusuisse group. With the transformation of Alusuisse into a holding, Alusuisse-Lonza Holding Ltd was established in May 1990. In 1992, the production site in Kouřim, Czech Republic, was acquired, in 1997, the company expanded to China. The visible repositioning of the group started in April 1998 with the renaming into Alusuisse Lonza Group Ltd (Algroup). On August 11, 1999 the Board of Directors announced the intention to outsource the Lonza division Chemistry and Energy again, to realize a three-way merger of Algroup with Alcan and Péchiney, where only the divisions Aluminium and Packaging shall be integrated. On October 18, 1999, the proposed outsourcing was approved at an Extraordinary General Meeting and on November 1, Lonza Group Ltd (headquartered in Zurich) which just became independent, was listed at the Stock Exchange. The former parent company Alusuisse Lonza Group Ltd, deleted the former reference “Lonza” out of its name in June 2000 only. In April 2002, the registered office of Lonza Group was transferred from Zurich to the operative headquarter in Basel. In 2006, Lonza listed the „Polymer Intermediates“ division at the Milan stock exchange, which is ever since operated under the name “Polynt SpA” headquartered in Italy. Lonza Group does not hold any minority stakes of Polynt anymore. Parts of the revenue from this flotation were used for the acquisition of the biotechnology division of the US biotechnology company Cambrex (460 mn US Dollar). This division was integrated into Lonza Biopharmaceutica, resp. integrated as the new sector “Bioscience” into the group’s business. In 2011, Lonza did its largest acquisition ever, acquiring the US American biocide producer Arch Chemicals for 1.6 bn CHF. Since October 2011, Lonza is also listed at the main board of the Singapore stock exchange and is the first company listed at the Swiss Stock Exchange, with a secondary listing in Singapore.

Figures and Sites[edit]

Lonza Group is headquartered in Basel and is listed at the SIX Swiss Exchange since November 1999. The oldest and largest R&D and production site with approx. 2800 employees is based in Visp, in the canton of Valais and part of the subsidiary “Lonza Ltd”. In 2011, the company had sales of CHF 2.692 billion (previous year CHF 2,690 billion) and a net income of CHF 261 million (previous year CHF 284 million). At the end of 2011, the group employed 11001 employees (previous year 8280 employees), at more than 45 production- and research and development sites. The largest R&D and production site with appro. 3000 employees is based in Visp, in the canton of Valais.


The Lonza Group consists of the following divisions:

  • Lonza Life Science Ingredients (LSI) (food and feed additives for the promotion of health as well as complex chemical intermediates for the agro business)
  • Lonza Microbial Control (LMC) (chemical-based and related solutions for the growth control and selective inhibition of hazardous micro organisms in the areas of water treatment, personal care, health and hygiene, industrial preservation, material protection and wood treatment)
  • Lonza Custom Manufacturing, (LCM) (Production of ingredients, which are used in important medications for the treatment of patients with cardiac and vascular diseases, cancer, neurological diseases and infectious diseases
  • Lonza Bioscience, (LBS) (Manufacturing of tools which are used by life sciences customers for the research, development and production as well as for the testing of therapeutic products)

Lonza serves the following seven markets with its products and services: Bio Research, Pharma&Biotech, Agriculture, Materials Science, Microbial Control, Personal Care and Nutrition.


With the appointment of Stefan Borgas as new CEO in 2004, Lonza was developing into the direction of life sciences with a clear focus on biotechnology as well as GMP-regulated chemical exclusive synthesis for the pharmaceutical area. Almost all the acquisitions made in the years 2006–2008 included biotech companies from the feed/food and nutrition area. As a result of this realignment towards life sciences, also the classical non-GMP chemistry of the Fine Chemicals division has to be realigned with the goal to increase the focus on nutrition, agro and hygiene. In 2006, the division Polymer Intermediates became independent, which was in line with this strategy. 2007 was characterized by a consolidation of the acquisitions made in the previous year. In 2008, Lonza’s consolidation further continued, flanked by small and mid-size acquisitions as for example the German company amaxa.

At the end of 2009, the management announced to shut down three sites in the US and the UK from which approx. 170 employees were affected. Towards the end of 2010, the cost-reduction program expired, leading to savings of tens of millions. With the acquisition of Arch Chemicals in October 2011, Lonza has further developed its portfolio. In January 2012, Lonza underwent a management change and strategy, now focusing on developement and growth of existing businesses. For this, Richard Ridinger was brought in from the German chemical giant BASF as the new CEO from May 1st. The companies stock has since seen steady growth in its assets although problems persist due to the relative strength of the Swiss franc.


External links[edit]

Official website