More Than 80 Years of Biorefining
Arizona Chemical has its origins in Camp Verde, Arizona, where in 1930, International Paper and American Cyanamid started a joint venture to mine salt cake. After some years, the salt mine was closed, and in 1936, Arizona Chemical began processing tall oil and turpentine in its manufacturing plants located in Panama City, Florida and Springhill, Louisiana.
By 1946, tall oil processing had become the core business of Arizona Chemical. The distillation technology was an adaptation of techniques developed to fractionate crude petroleum streams. Pine oil was commercialized in 1956, and the company developed an initial hydration reaction technology, as well as several new technologies, like desulfurization for alpha-pinene, to produce pine oil with a more pleasing odor, and ways to upgrade streams from the Panama City refinery.
By 1960, the demand for the company’s products had increased tremendously - making Arizona Chemical the most important raw material provider for the adhesive industry in North America. The demand for environmentally friendly raw materials further increased during the 70s, and by the end of the decade, Arizona Chemical had become the leading provider of pine-based resins for adhesives and rubber industries, and the largest producer of tall oil fatty acids for the coatings industry.
In 1984, International Paper gained full ownership of Arizona Chemical and in the following years, the company successfully implemented its ambitious growth strategy. Throughout the next two decades, Arizona Chemical made a number of strategic acquisitions in Northern Europe to better serve the burgeoning European market. The company acquired Sylvachem in 1986, Swedish Bergvik Kemi in 1988 and Reichhold’s Newport Division in 1989. Norway’s Peterson tall oil refinery, Finland’s Forchem’s tall oil and turpentine business and DSM’s ink resin business acquisitions were made in the early 90s. At the end of the 20th century, International Paper and Union Camp merged, leading to consolidation of their chemical subsidiaries under the Arizona Chemical name. In the years that followed, there was further consolidation as the Company sought to optimize its manufacturing facilities for streamlined production and to serve customers better.
In 2007, Arizona Chemical was sold by International Paper to the private equity company Rhône Capital to enable the company’s further growth. At the same time, International Paper retained a 10% share. Two years into being a standalone company, Arizona Chemical acquired Abieta Chemie in Germany to strengthen its position in the tires and rubber industry.
In 2010, Arizona Chemical was acquired by American Securities, LLC, a US-based private equity firm.
In 2012, the company opened its newest research and development laboratory in Shanghai, China, as well as expanded its presence in Russia with the opening of an office in Moscow.
Today, Arizona Chemical continues to make our world greener through hundreds of sustainable products that improve our daily life and through world class manufacturing practices that are focused to reduce waste, emissions and energy consumption. With more than 1,100 employees and state-of-the-art refineries in five countries on both sides of the Atlantic, Arizona Chemical provides sustainable raw materials to hundreds of companies and, in-turn, to millions of consumers all around the world.