ICIS, Special Supplement, May 2014
Author: Andy Brice
Midway through its €2bn four-year transformation and Italian major Versalis is accelerating efforts to enhance competitiveness, improve efficiency and become greener.
Versalis, the chemical subsidiary of Eni, unveiled a bold new strategy in 2012 to radically overhaul the company and reverse its fortunes. By converting and optimising poorly performing sites and enhancing its product portfolio through an expansion into green chemistry, Italy’s leading producer is laying the groundwork for a far more secure future.
CEO Daniele Ferrari has been overseeing the dramatic turnaround and remains confident that the measures being taken now will propel the petrochemical producer back among the world’s elite firms.
With the aim of revitalising the business after the severe effects of an over-exposure to bulk chemicals and the lacklustre European market, Ferrari launched the €2bn ($2.7bn) programme and kickstarted the initiative with the company’s rebranding. This also included a renewed focus on four key business units – elastomers, styrenics, polyethylene (PE) and intermediates – with added-value products, as well as a radical transformation of inefficient sites including Porto Torres, Priolo and Porto Marghera.
“Although Europe remains an extremely important market, European producers are making efforts to remain competitive on a global level,” says Ferrari.
“To be competitive there are two key drivers of innovation: know-how and sustainability. And you must also consider the industry within its specific geographical context. In Europe, for instance, the industry has no option: innovation and technological leadership is the way to go. If no measures are taken to boost competitiveness, it is destined to fade away eventually and this is something that a large economy such as ours cannot afford.”