Discontinued Operations

Through continuous innovation, the Business Units and fulfill an increasing demand for sustainable products and contribute to the global transition to a circular economy. They engage in intensive dialog and collaboration with customers, which facilitate tailored solutions for specific customer needs. In addition, their ongoing efforts to optimize the supply chain ensure a reliable, steady supply of raw materials, supporting a high rate of On-Time, In-Full deliveries.


Discontinued Operations (graphic)

1. Divestment of Business Units Masterbatches and Pigments

In 2019, Clariant continued with the divestments of its Business Units Masterbatches and Pigments. The company has agreed to sell its Masterbatches business to PolyOne in December 2019. The divestment is expected to be closed by the third quarter of 2020. The divestment of the Business Unit Pigments is expected to be concluded by the end of 2020. Read more in

2. Benefitting from the demand for sustainable and recyclable products

The plastics industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Environmental awareness of the persistence of plastics in the environment is rising, and corresponding regulations are becoming stricter. The European Union adopted new targets for plastics recycling, prescribing a gradual increase in recycling rates, which should reach 65% by 2035. In addition, many brand owners have pledged to achieve high recycling rates for their packaging well before the required deadlines.

Business Units Masterbatches and Pigments address the persistence of plastics by promoting improved recyclability and increased usage of biomaterial. When designing a new product, they not only consider how to use recycled plastics, but also incorporate the ability to recycle the product as part of the original design. To underscore the commitment to advancing plastics recycling, the Business Unit Masterbatches is a member of the Plastics Recyclers Europe Association (PRE), an industry working group engaged in efforts to increase recycling rates.

The sustainability trend is further propelled by the requirements of the automotive industry to reduce the weight of plastic components, which helps improve the fuel economy of their vehicles and reduce overall material usage. This weight reduction is an important element of the overall light-weighting strategy vehicle producers need to have in place to meet the stringent emission reduction targets required by legislation. Business Unit Masterbatches has responded to this demand by developing chemical foaming agents (CFAs), such as HYDROCEROL®, for use in automotive components.


HYDROCEROL® chemical foaming and nucleating agents are commonly used in consumer goods and automotive components to reduce part weight without compromising stiffness or mechanical properties.

Despite these beneficial trends, Business Units Masterbatches and were challenged by the global economic slowdown. The softer demand in China and Europe, as well as the weakness of the automotive industry, negatively impacted sales volumes in 2019.

3. Innovating for a circular economy

In 2019, the primary innovation driver was the circular economy megatrend. With regard to plastics, switching to a circular model requires adapting product formulations and designs to improve recyclability. In particular, customers are demanding solutions to enhance the quality of degraded polymers in the recycling process since the use of post-consumer recycling plastics is expected to become mandatory. To become a leading player in recycling, Business Unit Masterbatches focused its innovation activities in this area. It advanced the development of near-infrared-detectable (NIR) compounds with black pigments and dyes, which address the challenge of sorting high-appeal black packaging at recovery and recycling facilities, and invested in new solutions to improve the handling of post-consumer recycling plastics. These include color management tools that help customers utilize imperfectly colored starting materials and still achieve a constant coloration of finished products.

Near-infrared (NIR)

NIR spectroscopy is used in plastics recycling. Typically, black-colored plastic blocks NIR and thus hinders the recycling process. Clariant developed an NIR-transparent black color to avoid the contamination of waste streams.

Overall, Business Unit Masterbatches continued investing in its technical capabilities and innovation resources. For example, a new Center of Excellence on »Design for Recyclability« was built in Pogliano, Italy, in 2019. To fully support »Design for Recyclability,« the center will contain a small recycling plant and recruit external polymer and recycling experts to support the development of innovative applications in collaboration with customers. The Center of Excellence will be labeled »Cycle Works.« Read more in

Through its Digital Innovation Office in Singapore, the Business Unit also advanced research in digital solutions, such as InstaColr™, a cloud-based tool for on-the-spot colormatching at the customer via an iPad based app. Read more in

Given the scale of the challenge the circular economy poses for the chemical industry, Business Unit Masterbatches started leading innovation projects with several brand owners and plastic converters. It entered a partnership with Polymateria, a London-based start-up that developed a technology to biodegrade polyolefins without leaving microplastics. Another collaboration was launched with Merck and SABIC to develop laser marking solutions for flexible packaging, which improves the recyclability of polyethylene films.

Innovation in Business Unit Pigments continued with a focus on delivering powerful solutions to customer challenges and problems as well as solutions to improve the cost structure of the product portfolio. The Business Unit investigated areas closely linked to circular economy, automation, and enhanced product performance. This supports the delivery of the business growth ambitions while simultaneously increasing sustainability of products and production processes.

In addition, trends such as autonomous driving and sustainability in industrial inkjet printing influenced Pigment’s innovation activities. Since autonomous vehicles can typically not recognize standard black colors, Clariant’s new detectable black pigments can be used not only in the recycling of black polymers, but also to support the detection of black autonomous vehicles.

The trends toward individualization and sustainability continued driving the digital inkjet printing market. Pigments intensified its engagement in this area and is developing water-based inks, which will be presented as an environmentally sound solution at the DRUPA trade show in 2020.

4. Successful product launches

As part of Clariant’s »Design for Recycling« program, Business Unit Masterbatches launched a new range of masterbatches that make dark-colored plastics visible in automated polymer sorting systems. While black-colored articles typically blind the NIR detectors, potentially contaminating waste streams, these new solutions will help increase recycling rates by making black plastic items recyclable. Specific CESA® IR formulations have been developed to enable NIR-detectability of black high-density and low-density polyethylene in injection and blow-molded products, black polypropylene in films and injection-molded products, and different types of black polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in sheets and film.

»New CESA® IR Masterbatches have been developed to achieve a persuasive black color on plastics without compromising on the essential detectability during the recycling process.«

Alessandro Dulli Head of Segment Packaging, Business Unit Masterbatches

At the K Show, the world’s leading trade fair for plastics and rubber, Business Unit Masterbatches presented the patent-protected, high-performing oxygen scavenger additive masterbatch . This new product enhances the shelf life of food and beverages and helps reduce food waste.

CESA® ProTect

The oxygen scavenger is suited for monolayer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and protects oxygen-sensitive food and beverages by absorbing oxygen molecules.

The product launches of Business Unit Pigments will also make the creation of recycling streams for black plastics more viable. The Business Unit developed the first range of NIR-detectable black pigments and dyes, including: the polymer-soluble dye Solvaperm® Black PCR for the black and gray coloration of PET, polystyrene (PS), and polycarbonate (PC); the new Graphtol® Black CLN pigment, which is tailored to polyolefins and is food contact-approved in various countries worldwide; and the polymer-soluble dye Polysynthren® Black H, one of very few colorants suitable for polyamides (PA), the largest family of engineering plastics.

In 2019, Business Unit Pigments focused on introducing products that are compliant with the latest regulatory requirements. With its Cosmenyl™ 100 product range, it launched optimized cosmetic grades of pigment preparations with a new preservation system. The modified Cosmenyl™ range fulfills the new European preservative regulations for cosmetic products, meeting strict requirements regarding heavy metal content, aromatic amine components, and microbiological purity. Business Unit Pigments also enhanced its product range, which consists of pigments and pigment preparations for the coloration of seed, with several products customized to the global and regional seed coatings market needs. The coloration of seeds that are treated with pesticides is mandatory in most countries to avoid misuse. In addition to this safety feature, Agrocer® pigments also enable individual colors and color shades for branding purposes, identifying a specific treatment between different seed varieties and allowing for easy monitoring of uniformity and consistency of seed treatments.

5. Strengthening commercial competences

Business Unit Masterbatches further implemented its functional excellence program in 2019 by establishing a competence center for sales force effectiveness. The primary objective of the competence center is to create a high-performing commercial organization by ensuring the systematic measurement and monitoring of sales force productivity through the development of a clear measuring methodology, embedding a consistent application of the Customer Relationship Management system, and by offering training programs to strengthen commercial skills within the sales force.

Business Unit Pigments continued to implement the Leading Marketing Organization, a process that started in 2018. In 2019, a Global Marketing & Innovation group was set up as a new function. In addition, as part of the same initiative, a new Key Account Management group was also created. These activities led to a better understanding of market trends and customer needs and supported the Business Unit in improving its pricing and growing with key accounts.

6. Optimizing operational and procurement efficiency

The ability to react quickly to changing customer choices is a prerequisite for competitiveness. Thus, optimizing the operational chain is the key to success. To do so, Business Unit Masterbatches focused on three pillars. First, it started reducing the range of raw materials sourced, concentrating on those with an optimal price-performance ratio. Second, it improved lead times and reliability by introducing a dashboard that provides transparency on the status of all current orders, enabling the Business Unit to meet the lead times requested by its customers. Third, by better coordinating the different production sites within each region, Business Unit Masterbatches intends to further increase production volumes without investing in additional capacities, making it possible to serve customers with very short lead times.

Responsible Mica Initiative

Business Unit Masterbatches joined the Responsible Mica Initiative, an association that aims to improve the control and trackability of the extracted mica to ensure decent working conditions for the workers involved and to avoid child labor.

In order to become more independent and flexible in the sourcing of raw material, Business Unit Pigments took a new approach regarding procurement. It identified additional suppliers and decided to insource the production of certain intermediate products that had previously been procured. In addition, it continued the implementation of project »Clockwork« in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the end-to-end supply chain, which will lead to optimized transparency, reliability, and predictability as well as improved inventory levels and lead times. In 2019, Pigments improved its On-Time, In-Full (OTIF) performance by 10%. To expand the production capacity for the automotive industry, it opened a facility for high-end blue pigments in Cuddalore, India.

6.1. Ensuring safe operations

Both Business Units are committed to protecting employee safety, health, and well-being and work toward the goal of zero accidents. All employees are continuously trained to optimize safety behavior and culture to reduce accidents. After significantly improving the safety performance in recent years, Business Unit Masterbatches plans to further harmonize local, regional, and global standards in order to apply the strictest safety regulations in all of its plants.

Business Unit Pigments improved accident and incident rates by conducting site-specific fitness and awareness programs and implementing a near-miss recording system in all sites. In addition, it conducted several refresher trainings and offered »Safety Moments« – brief documents containing safety messages – at the beginning of each meeting.

6.2. Improving environmental performance

Business Units Masterbatches and Pigments focus on improving environmental performance by reviewing and optimizing production processes. Both Business Units apply three layers of environmental protection. First, strict with all local regulations, laws, and permits of the production sites is ensured. Second, ESHA guidelines, which typically go beyond local regulations, are followed at all sites. Third, all sites operate along ISO 9001/14001 standards.

In 2019, the Business Unit Masterbatches started an initiative to use recycled resins for the coloration of masterbatches. This will allow customers to use recycled materials while achieving the desired coloration results. It also began implementing a »zero loss pellet« approach as part of its production system. The approach minimizes the loss of plastic particles during various handling processes, thus contributing to higher yields. Blueprints for optimized processes are rolled out globally and will be audited on a regular basis.


These are plastic additives in the form of granules with dyestuffs or other additives used to dye or alter the properties of natural plastic. View entire glossary


Pigments are substances used for coloring; they are used in a technical manner, for example in the manufacture of dyes, varnishes, and plastics. View entire glossary


Pigments are substances used for coloring; they are used in a technical manner, for example in the manufacture of dyes, varnishes, and plastics. View entire glossary


A substance added to products in small quantities to achieve certain properties or to improve a product. View entire glossary


Compliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with voluntary codes within the company. View entire glossary