Lubrizol Creates New Ventures Unit


Lubrizol Corp. yesterday announced formation of a new business unit, Lubrizol Corporate Ventures, charged with growing the company in adjacent markets.

The new group “includes innovators in Lubrizol’s walls working in partnership with inventors, start-ups and strategic minds and organizations to build new business opportunities that leverage the company’s strengths and enable sizable growth in new areas,” the company stated in a news release issued Tuesday. The group will use company resources to develop, test, commercialize and scale business opportunities.

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This group will be led by Deb Langer as senior vice president for corporate ventures. The company said Langer’s background included imagining and building the origins of what is now Lubrizol Life Science, a business serving suppliers of beauty, home and healthcare products. Most recently, she served as corporate vice president for mergers and acquisitions and consumer and market insights, and has held a variety of positions throughout the company spanning business management and technology leadership roles.

Lubrizol has two segments: Lubrizol Additives and Lubrizol Advanced Materials.

“Over the past many months we have conducted a study of end use markets that we see as growing in the future, where we believe challenges exist, and where we may be able to participate and provide needed solutions,” Matt Joyce, Lubrizol senior vice president, corporate ventures, told Lube Report. “Some of these markets may have tangential proximity to certain end uses served by our Additives business today but others may be further afield or align more closely with end uses in Advanced Materials portfolio of businesses.  While we are not ready to unveil these different areas today, they will become more evident over the mid-term as we work to enter these markets in a more meaningful way.”

The company is the world’s largest lubricant additive supplier but has forayed a number of times into other areas. In 2004, it acquired Noveon International Inc., which supplied specialty chemicals to the personal care, performance coatings and engineered polymers markets.

In December 2013, Berkshire Hathaway – which had purchased Lubrizol two years earlier – agreed to acquire the pipeline flow improvers business of Phillips Specialty Products Inc., which became Lubrizol Specialty Products Inc. The next year Lubrizol added a third business segment – Lubrizol Oilfield Solutions, which offered technology solutions for oil exploration, production and transportation. Three years later, however, the company decided to wind down that segment.

Joyce noted that Lubrizol has more than tripled in size over the past 20 years, in large part due to its ability to acquire, partner, and organically grow a multitude of businesses across a wide variety of end uses, including industrial, life sciences, coatings, and engineered polymers. “There are always elements of learnings that come from these endeavors, and like any successful company, we will draw upon these as we pursue this new challenge ahead of us,” he said.

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