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Ineos Group Limited
Private limited company
Industry Chemicals
Founded 1998
Founder Jim Ratcliffe
Headquarters Rolle, Switzerland
(Head office)
Lyndhurst, Hampshire, United Kingdom
(Registered office)
Key people
Jim Ratcliffe (CEO & Chairman), Andy Currie (Director), John Reece (Finance Director), Jim Dawson (non-executive Director)
Products Chemical substances
Revenue US$54 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees
17,000 [1]

Ineos Group Limited (styled as INEOS) is a privately owned multinational chemicals company headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland, and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK. It is in the top ten chemicals manufacturing companies as measured by sales revenue.[2] Jim Ratcliffe is the founder, Chairman and 60 percent shareholder.[2] Ineos is organised into around 20 standalone business units, each with its own board.[2]


Ineos is an acronym of INspec Ethylene OxideSpecialities, a name derived from their first acquisition in 1998[3] It also stems from one Latin and two Greek words that founder, Jim Ratcliffe, and his two sons found when searching for a company name. "Ineo" is Latin for a new beginning, "Eos" is the Greek goddess of dawn and "neos" means something new and innovative. As a result, the name Ineos represents the "dawn of something new and innovative"[4]


Part of the Grangemouth petrochemical plant in Scotland; the site has been an oil refinery since 1924
Part of the Ineos facility in Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Inspec had been formed by Ratcliffe, previously a director of US private equity group Advent International, and John Hollowood in 1992 to undertake a management buy-in of British Petroleum's (BP) chemicals arm.[5][6] In 1995 Inspec bought BP's ethylene oxide and glycol business for £78 million.[7] Ineos was subsequently established as a company in 1998 by Inspec director Ratcliffe to buy-out Inspec's ethylene oxide facility in Antwerp, Belgium.[8][9] The £84 million buy-out was funded by Scottish investment house Murray Johnstone (£10 million), Ineos management (£1.5 million), and investment bank BT Alex Brown (£72.5 million raised through junk bonds.)[7][8][10][11]

The company grew quickly through the acquisition of commodity chemical businesses from corporate giants such as BP, ICI and BASF.

There have been three distinct phases of Ineos's growth.[12] The first spanned over ten years, with Ineos acquiring 22 companies between 1998 and 2008. The most notable of these was the purchase of Innovene, the olefins and derivatives and refining subsidiary of BP, in October 2005 for $9 billion[13] and ICI’s commodity chemicals business in 2001. The second phase between 2008 and 2010 saw a period of consolidation as the company tackled the impact of the global recession. As production of consumer goods, cars and construction fell during this period, the company saw sales and earnings reduce. During this period a major competitor LyondellBasell filed for bankruptcy.[14] Some predicted a similar fate for Ineos but the company emerged from this period intact. Since 2011 the company has continued to grow through a series of strategic Joint Ventures, the largest of which was formed with PetroChina, combining Ineos’s Refining interests at Grangemouth, in Scotland, and Lavéra, in France, with PetroChina’s access to upstream raw materials.[15] The 50:50 Joint Venture which completed in June 2011 is called Petroineos, In the same month, Ineos and BASF combined Styrenics businesses to form another 50:50 partnership, Styrolution.[16] Ineos's growth has continued through this period, expanding production in the USA and China. Most recently Ineos announced a Joint Venture with Solvay bringing together their European ChlorVinyls businesses.[17]

Ineos’s heritage is in a number of well known blue chip chemical companies. These include Amoco, BASF, Bayer, Borealis, BP, Degussa, Dow Chemical Company, Enichem, Erdölchemie, Hoechst, ICI, Innovene, Lanxess, Monsanto, Norsk Hydro and Solvay. The company was formed in 1998 to affect a management buyout of the former BP petrochemicals assets in Antwerp, Belgium.[18] Since then, it has expanded by purchasing several other businesses. Several of its divisions formerly belonged to BP, and others have been divested by large companies such as Amoco, BASF, ICI, Dow Chemical, Solvay and UCB, as they have looked to focus more closely on their main product lines. In October 2005 Ineos agreed to purchase Innovene, BP’s olefins and derivatives and refining subsidiary, which had an estimated 2005 turnover of US$25 billion, for $9 billion.[19] The deal, which was completed on 14 December 2005, roughly quadrupled Ineos's turnover, which was previously around $8 billion.

In 2007 Ineos formed a joined venture with Lanxess and created INEOS ABS, comprising Lanxess's activities in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene production, located in Tarragona. INEOS paid €35 million in a first tranche.[20] In March 2010 Ineos Healthcare terminated its drug development programme for commercial reasons.

In February 2011 Ineos Bio broke ground on a landmark advanced biofuels facility in Florida. "INEOS Bio’s biorefinery will have the capacity to produce 8 million gallons of ethanol and 6 megawatts (gross) of electricity per year." "The INEOS Bio process can produce ethanol and renewable energy from numerous non-food feedstocks, including construction and municipal solid waste, forestry and agricultural waste."[21] In July 2013 Ineos Bio announced that the Florida plant is producing cellulosic ethanol on a commercial scale and claim to be the first in the world to do so using this new technology.[22]

On 23 October 2013 INEOS announced the closure of its petrochemical plant at Grangemouth Scotland [23] following a dispute with the Unite trade union over pensions and an attempt to impose a wage freeze and new contract on the workforce. However, by 25 October 2013 the union gave in to the closure threats, and agreed to all Ineos's demands meaning the plant would stay open and strike-free for three years.[24]


Ineos provides products for many markets including: Fuels and Lubricants (23.3%), Packaging and Food (18.5%) and Construction (16.1%). Other markets include Automotive & Transport, White Goods & Durables, Pharmaceutical & Agrochemical and Textiles.[25] The majority of Ineos’s geographic earnings are distributed across Germany (16.8%), USA (16.1%), UK (12.3%), France (11.6%) and Benelux (10.8%).[25]

Ineos is involved in renewable energy and is one of the world's leading pioneers in the development of generating sustainable energy from waste material.[26]

Ineos reportedly runs operations with minimal head office management, feeling that "work teams" are better suited for handling of the workflow day to day, without middle-management.[27]

The group made initial enquiries into Southampton Football Club as of January 2014.

In November 2014, Ineos announced plans to invest up to £640m in shale gas exploration in the UK. The company plans to use the gas as a raw material for its chemicals plants, including Grangemouth near Falkirk.[28]

Joint ventures[edit]


Styrolution is a 50:50 joint venture between Ineos and BASF formed in 2011. Its global headquarters can be found in Frankfurt, Germany. It has 17 manufacturing sites producing styrene monomer, polystyrene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, styrene-butadiene block copolymers and various copolymer blends.[25]


Petroineos is a refining and trading joint venture between Ineos and PetroChina formed in 2011. It is Europe’s leading independent crude oil refiner, with a turnover of $15 billion. It has two refineries, one in Lavéra, France, and one in Grangemouth, Scotland.[29] The value of the Grangemouth chemicals plant, which Ineos had once valued at 400 million pounds was written down to nothing by them in October 2013 during conflict with the union. Later that month it was reported that PetroChina was unhappy with the return on the billion dollars cash they had paid for a 50% stake in the Grangemouth, Scotland and Lavera, France refineries. According to a Hong Kong business analyst: "The European refineries are pretty much loss making. In future there won't be any similar investments".[30]

Other ventures[edit]

PQ Corporation is a joint venture between Ineos (40%) and The Carlyle Group (60%). It is a global producer of inorganic chemicals, catalysts and engineered glass products.[31]

Most recently, Solvay and Ineos are to create a 50:50 joint venture which will see them combine their chlorvinyls sites in Europe. This joint venture will become the world’s third largest producer of PVC.[17]


Ineos manufactures and distributes a wide range of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products:[25]

Business Products
ABS ABS Polymers, SAN Polymers
Barex Barex Resins, Specialized Acrylonitrile-Methyl Acrylate Co-Polymer
Bio Advanced Bio Energy Technology
ChlorVinyls Chloralkali, Chlorine Derivatives, General Chemicals, E-PVC, S-PVC, VCM
Enterprises Brine & Water, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Esters, Sulphur Chemicals, Ammonia / Nitric Acid, Salt, VAM, PVC Compounds
Melamines Melamine formaldehyde resin
Nitriles Acrylonitrile, Acetonitrile, Oxazole, Hydrogen Cyanide, Acetone cyanohydrin, Ammonium Sulphate
Olefins and Polymers Europe Ethylene, Propylene, Butadiene and other C4s, Benzene, Polyethylene (LD/LLDPE, HDPE), Polypropylene and other Aromatics
Olefins and Polymers USA Olefins, High Density Polyethylene, Polypropylene
Oligomers Linear Alpha Olefins (LAO), Polyalpha Olefin (PAO), Polybutene, Specialty Oligomers
Oxide Ethylene Oxide, Ethylene Oxide Derivatives, Ethylidene Norbornene, Glycol, Acetate Esters, Propylene Glycol, Propylene oxide, Oxo-Alcohols
Paraform Formaldehyde, Paraformaldehyde, Hexamethylene Tetramine (HMT), Cyanates
Phenol Phenol, Acetone, Alphamethylstyrene
Styrenics Expandable Polystyrene
Technologies Licenses world class petrochemical technology for: Polyethylene, Polystyrene, Vinyls, Polypropylene, Acrylonitrile, Chlor-Alkali

Industrial relations controversy[edit]


In April 2008 INEOS, which was experiencing adverse economic conditions, was at the center of an industrial relations dispute with Unite the Union over pension entitlements of the workforce at its Grangemouth Refinery, when the company decided to close the final salary pension scheme to new employees. Unite the Union claimed the Grangemouth workers were paid £6,000 less than those at comparable facilities.[32] The 48-hour strike that followed caused panic buying of petrol throughout the country and the Forties production pipeline, a third of Britain's North Sea oil production, being closed.[33] Ineos has been accused by some of buying assets then cutting costs through the introduction of new working practices, lower wages, and terminating pension schemes.[32] According to Ratcliffe, some 65 per cent of salary costs at Grangemouth related to pensions.[34][35]


Stephen Deans, convener for Unite union at the Grangemouth plant where he worked, and also head of the Falkirk branch of the Labour party, was suspended from his employment at Grangemouth by Ineos in the summer of 2013, while they investigated what they said were accusations he had been using company resources for political campaigning; related to recruitment of Unite members in Ineos workforce to the local Labour branch, where the selection of a new parliamentary candidate was taking place after the de-selection of Eric Joyce. A Labour Party head office investigation into allegations that people had been made new members without them knowing or signing cleared Deans of the accusations, who had been suspended from the Labour party pending the investigation as well as the Unite candidate he was supporting.[33][36][37][38][39]

Unite said Deans was being subjected to "sinister" treatment, and in October an overtime ban at Grangemouth plant, which according to Ineos had operated at a loss of £150 million per year for the previous four years, started in protest.[33][38][39][40] A 48-hour strike was set for 20 October. Ineos announced the plant would be shut down before the strike and put forward a new deal direct to the workforce, warning that the plant might close permanently if it was rejected. Two-thirds of workers voted against accepting Ineos's proposal, which would have reduced pension, shift pay and redundancy entitlements in addition to a pay freeze. On 23 October Ineos announced the permanent closure of the petrochemical site at Grangemouth.[41] The next day the Unite union reversed its position and agreed to Ineos's proposals, which included an undertaking not to strike for three years.[42] Deans resigned from his job at Grangemouth on 28 October 2013 after INEOS presented its findings to his team.[43][44][45]


  1. ^ a b "INEOS is a world class producer of Petrochemicals and speciality chemicals". 1 June 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Jim's a leader in his field". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Marsh, Virginia; Rivlin, Richard (18 September 1999). "Ratcliffe in joint bid for ICI's acrylics arm". Financial Times (London). p. 26. 
  6. ^ Jury, Jennifer (1 June 1998). "Murray Johnstone Backs Jim Ratcliffe in Ineos Buyout". UK Venture Capital Journal. p. 1. 
  7. ^ a b Mortished, Carl (15 April 1998). "Inspec sells Antwerp to managers". The Times (London). p. 25. 
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Roger (15 April 1998). "Director to lead £84m buy-out of Inspec arm". Financial Times (London). p. 25. 
  9. ^ "INEOS | Company Structure Information from". ICIS. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Clark, Michael (15 April 1998). "Finance sector leads index to another record high". The Times (London). p. 26. 
  11. ^ Luce, Edward (29 April 1998). "EDC in $500m five-year deal". Financial Times (London). p. 44. 
  12. ^ Iain Dey in Geneva (12 May 2013). "What Jim Ratcliffe did next". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Catan, Thomas (7 October 2005). "BP to sell Innovene to Ineos in $9bn deal". Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Lyondell Files for Bankruptcy". The New York Times. 6 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "PetroChina and INEOS announce plans for new trading and refining JV in Europe". Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "and INEOS sign joint venture contract for Styrolution - BASF - The Chemical Company - Corporate Website". BASF. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Solvay and INEOS join forces to create a world-class PVC producer". Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Migration Temp (12 August 2007). "Ratcliffe, the alchemist". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Catan, Thomas (7 October 2005). "BP to sell Innovene to Ineos in $9bn deal". Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  20. ^ [1] Archived 5 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "INEOS Bio breaks ground on landmark advanced biofuels facility in Florida". Biofuels Digest. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "First facility in the world using new advanced bioenergy technology to convert waste to renewable fuel and electricity". 31 July 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Grangemouth dispute: Ineos says petrochemical plant will close". 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "Q&A: Grangemouth - What now?". 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c d "INEOS is a world class producer of Petrochemicals and speciality chemicals". 1 June 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  26. ^ "Florida Plant to Produce Advanced Ethanol -". 31 July 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "Big Cut in UK Firms' Carcinogenic Emissions". 6 March 2002. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "PetroChina completes $1bn Ineos deal". London: Telegraph. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  30. ^ Singapore (Platts)--21Oct2013 China abandons downstream investments on poor returns
  31. ^ "The Carlyle Group and INEOS Agree to Combine PQ Corporation and INEOS Silicas; Combination will Create Global Producer of Specialty Chemical Products | The Carlyle Group". Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  32. ^ a b Doward, Jamie; Gaby Hinsliff; Denis Campbell (27 April 2008). "Drivers are told not to panic buy as strike at oil refinery starts to bite". The Observer. p. 5. 
  33. ^ a b c Sunday Herald 28 July 2013 Trade union threatened to shut Grangemouth refinery over Falkirk chairman's suspension
  34. ^ "INEOS Financing on Bioenergy Plant Will Create Almost 400 Jobs". U.S. Green Technology. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  35. ^ Telegraph, Sep 2013, Britain is not an attractive place to manufacture, says Ineos chief Jim Ratcliffe
  36. ^ BBC news Sept 2013 Falkirk row: Unite union vindicated, says Len McCluskey
  37. ^ Sky News Labour: Falkirk Candidate Karie Murphy Quits
  38. ^ a b FT politic and Policy, Old wound threatens to reopen at Grangemouth
  39. ^ a b BBC News business, 23 October 2013, Grangemouth dispute: The key players
  40. ^ Friday 24 October 2013,Grangemouth: How downfall began with bar-room brawl
  41. ^ Telegraph, 23 Oct 2013, mouth-timeline-of-the-dispute.html Grangemouth: timeline of the dispute
  42. ^ BBC News, 24 October 2013 Grangemouth dispute: Hopes rise after Unite accepts survival plan
  43. ^
  44. ^ The uk,28 October 2013, Unite official Stevie Deans resigns from Grangemouth role
  45. ^ 28 October 2013, Scottish Television News

External links[edit]