Solvay: History of a Multinational Family Firm

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 3, 2013 - Business & Economics - 630 pages
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Ernest Solvay, philanthropist and organizer of the world-famous Solvay conferences on physics, discovered a profitable way of making soda ash in 1861. Together with a handful of associates, he laid the foundations of the Solvay company, which successfully branched out to other chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Since its emergence in 1863, Solvay has maintained world leadership in the production of soda ash. This is the first scholarly book on the history of the Solvay company, which was one of the earliest chemical multinationals and today is among the world's twenty largest chemical companies. It is also one of the largest companies in the field to preserve its family character. The authors analyze the company's 150-year history (1863-2013) from economic, political, and social perspectives, showing the enormous impact geopolitical events had on the company and the recent consequences of global competition.
 

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Contents

Introduction I
1
When Vision and Reality Meet
9
A Multinational Pioneer
33
Reaching a Dominant Position
65
3
91
36 Conversion of currencies before 1914
93
Labor Organization Social Policy and Societal Vision
97
The Consolidation of Power
119
THE ERA OF DIVERSIFICATION
331
3
357
Backward and Forward Integration
361
Financial and Organizational Limits of
383
Solvays Return
407
1
420
Solvays Entry into Pharmacy
431
2O Solvay in the Age of Globalization
459

Conclusion of Part 1
143
THE MAKING
149
76 Production of soda ash and caustic soda Dombasle Giraud
162
From the Ashes 191 81922
175
The Making of International Alliances
193
Family and Finance through the Crisis
229
4
259
21
269
2
314
I4 Conclusion of Part 2
325
Toward Sustainable Product Leadership
489
Major Turning Points
529
Conclusion of Part 3
559
Appendix B
570
558
575
Sources and Bibliography
577
Index
601
456
616
573
623
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Kenneth Bertrams is Research Fellow at the National Fund for Scientific Research in Belgium and Lecturer in History at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium.

Nicolas Coupain is Historian and Scientific Advisor at Solvay S. A.

Ernst Homburg is Professor of History of Science and Technology at Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

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