Azelis – more than a decade of successful expansion

The Azelis group was established in 2001 through the merger of Novorchem in Italy and Arnaud in France and has since followed a positive acquisition strategy to create Europe’s leading chemical distribution network.

2001 - Azelis was created through the merger of Novorchem in Italy and Arnaud in France.

Novorchem: Established in 1998 by the current Azelis Deputy Chairman Dr. Hans Udo Wenzel by merging start-up business Organa with Chem-Plast Specialities, a distributor belonging to Henkel. His vision of building a Europe-wide chemical distribution business had begun and new acquisitions including Novaria Chemicals, Magazzini Cusago and Giulio Gross were quickly added. Novorchem then became Azelis, when it merged with Arnaud in 2001.

Arnaud: Founded in France in 1908 by Augustin Arnaud to supply French industrialists with raw materials. It was Augustin’s son Pierre who added the technical emphasis to form the world’s first speciality distributor as early as 1951. His vision took the company into Central and Eastern Europe at the earliest opportunity after the Berlin Wall fell in 1990, with companies within the group now including Arnaud, Comaip and Promecome. When Pierre died, the companies merged and became part of the Azelis Group in 2001.

2002 - Chance & Hunt, a former UK-based ICI company is acquired by Azelis.

Chance & Hunt: The Runcorn-based chemicals distributor joined the Azelis Group in 2002, just three years after its successful demerger from ICI. The company brought expertise in coatings, polymers and additives, food ingredients, chemical industries and nutrition, serving UK and Irish customers.

2003 - Azelis acquires the Kraemer & Martin Group, bringing established distribution businesses in Germany, Switzerland and Austria into the group.

Kraemer & Martin Group: Founded by Julius Kraemer and Gerhard Martin in Germany in 1936, Kraemer & Martin was a chemical trading company. The organisation grew by acquisition and organic development over subsequent years, taking over Bonn-based chemical trader L. Hasenmüller in 1974, acquiring the chemical wholesalers Chemikaliengroßhandlung Eva Dilg in Krefeld and Vilsmeier in 1979. In 1993, Kraemer & Martin was one of the first chemical companies to adopt ISO9002, all part of a strategy to add value at a service and technical level and was the first API distributor in Germany in 1999. Kraemer & Martin joined Azelis in 2003.

2004 - Azelis acquires Impex Química, a renowned Iberian distributor with a focus on pharmaceuticals and veterinary industries. Azelis gained a presence in the important Benelux markets in 2004 through the acquisition of two separate companies: the former Sibeco Group and Sepulchre.

Impex Química : Founded in 1963, Impex Química is a distribution company for a wide range of chemical products across Spain and Portugal. The company extended the commercialisation of raw materials for the pharmaceutical and veterinary industries to other areas such as Latin America and the Middle East. Azelis acquired Impex Química in 2004, bringing its expert service, sales and logistics capabilities in the Iberian market to strengthen the group offering.

The Sibeco Group: Based in Oevel, Belgium was formed in 1994 to offer specialist expertise in food blends and ingredients, animal nutrition and a wide range of general chemicals. Sibeco joined Azelis in 2004.

Sepulchre: Trading since 1932, Sepulchre was based in Brussels, Belgium and grew to become a leading distributor offering more than 2,500 raw materials and chemical specialities servicing blue chip producers, rubber, plastics, CASE (coatings, adhesives and sealants) and speciality sectors. Sepulchre became part of Azelis in 2004, opening up the Benelux markets.

2005 - Azelis acquires Nordic distributor Broste. Azelis opens a strategic office in Shanghai.

Broste: Founded by Peter Broste in Copenhagen in 1915, Broste stayed with the family through four generations until it was sold to Azelis in 2005. Over the decades the company expanded its operations from Denmark to include Norway, Iceland, UK, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Latvia and China, bringing a comprehensive coverage of the Nordic region for all of Azelis main market areas.

2006 - In December 2006 Azelis agreed a change of share ownership with the leading global finance house 3i.

3i : Leading global finance house 3i agreed a share of ownership in Azelis in December 2006, providing continuing funding and strategic support of the growth strategy for the group. 3i has international presence, experience and knowledge of the chemical distribution sector and a pragmatic and hands-on way of working with their managing partners. 3i are fully supportive of existing development plans for Azelis based on continued growth through targeted acquisition, plus increased organic growth.

2007 - S Black is acquired by Azelis, bringing new strengths in personal care, food and health, pharma and homecare products. Azelis established a local presence in product sourcing and distribution in India. Interland Chemie bv, an independent Dutch speciality chemical distributor, was also acquired.

SBlack: Stanley Black began his business in Essex in the UK in 1968, offering a range of pigments and sunscreens. Always looking to add value to customer product developments, the company expanded its range in personal care, and food and health ingredients and formed a German operation in 1995. Application Laboratories providing formulations, the acquisition of Universe Ingredients and the creation of Development Kitchens all added to the expertise on offer. Azelis acquired S Black in 2007.

2008 - Azelis acquires Tara Kimya A.S. in Istanbul, opening up important new markets in Turkey. Azelis launched a three-year business plan for the period 2009-2011 based on two pillars: organic growth through internal synergies, and further acquisitions.

Tara Kimya A.S.: Azelis acquired Tara Kimya A.S. at the beginning of 2008. The company, founded in 1986, worked with important international principals serving the paints, varnishes, inks, adhesives and construction sectors. The company operated two warehouses in Istanbul supplying both the Asian and European parts of the country, giving Azelis a platform of skilled people and an established supply chain from which to expand into this important growing market.

2009 -  Joris Coppye, previously operations director at Azelis, was appointed CEO in July 2009. The establishment of a strong centralised management team based in Antwerp began, with a mix of external and internal appointments in September 2009. A number of key functions, such as a universal human resources system, were instigated.

2010 - Azelis acquires YDS Chemical NV, Belgium, a distributor of speciality chemicals in the Benelux region.

Currently, Azelis is consulting its international business directors, principal suppliers, customers, and external consultants to analyse and further improve its business and marketing approach to drive the business forward.

YDS Chemicals: Set up in Belgium in 1992 by Mr Yves De Somere to sell Safino speciality chemicals for different industries. The company became an independent in 1999, expanding operations into new product areas throughout the Benelux region and specialising the distribution of personal and home care ingredients, speciality food and performance chemicals. YDS Chemicals was acquired by Azelis in 2010.

2011 - All of the original companies and brands are fully amalgamated into one company – Azelis – serving speciality industrial sectors throughout Europe. 

Finkochem d.o.o based in Serbia was acquired by Azelis to enhance the company's offering in not only in Serbia, but also in the adjacent countries.  Finkochem was established in 1991 by Al Metalchem Ltd Cyprus, employs 20 people, mostly in sales & marketing and is based in the centre of Belgrade. This well known company in the Serbian market services  more than 300  customers from their warehouse located near Belgrade.  Finkochem d.o.o. was renamed Azelis Serbia in 2011.

Azelis acquired the S&D Group Limited, a leading specialist supplier of raw materials and ingredients to the pharmaceutical, food, personal care and performance chemicals industries. This acquisition is strategically important as it significantly strengthens the Azelis Life Science business (Pharma, Food & Health and Personal Care), both in terms of portfolio coverage as well as geographic spread.

Azelis begins implementing its strategy to grow in the Asia Pacific region.

2012 - A new leadership team is appointed including Hans-Joachim Müller as Group Chief Executive Officer; Martin Hollenhorst as Chief Financial Officer and; Laurent Nataf as Group Chief Operating Officer.

2013 - Azelis opens new offices in Asia Pacific, including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

2014 - Azelis opens Personal Care and Food Application Labs in Shanghai.

2015 - 3i sells Azelis to funds advised by Apax Partners, global private equity and firm Azelis acquires Koda Distribution Group to form Azelis Americas. Azelis also opens offices in Malaysia (also to serve Singapore), Thailand and Vietnam.

Azelis Americas, formerly Koda Distribution Group, operates in the speciality chemicals distribution market across the USA and Canada. This is a very significant acquisition for Azelis, expanding the footprint across North America and at the same time opening up more opportunities across for customers and principals worldwide.
Azelis Americas will continue to operate its market and regional brands of ADAPCO, DeWolf Chemical, E.W. Kaufmann, Glenn Corporation, GMZ, Marcor Development Corporation, Monson, P.T Hutchins, Red River Specialties and Ribelin.
Frank Bergonzi, formerly CEO and President KDG, becomes CEO and President Azelis Americas.

2016 - Laurent Nataf is appointed CEO and President Azelis Asia Pacific to grow and further develop the Azelis business in the region.

Azelis acquires Milan-based Ametech, a leading speciality chemicals distributor for agrochemical and fertiliser formulations.

 Find Azelis in the following worldwide locations.