Shell Acquires Panolin’s Biolubes Business

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Shell Acquires Panolin’s Biolubes Business
Farmer mechanic repairing blue tractor engine. Universal tractor transmission oils are among the products in Panolin's porfolio of environmentally considered lubricants that are rapidly biodegradable. © greenOlli

Shell agreed to acquire the environmentally considerate lubricants business of Panolin Group last week, a transaction enabling it to increase supply of products with potential exposure to sensitive ecosystems.

Panolin, which is headquartered in Madetswil, Switzerland, would retain its factory in that village outside Zurich and will continue supplying conventional and food-grade lubricants in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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The biobased lubes supplied by the business that was sold are considered environmentally considerate because they rapidly biodegrade, according to Panolin.

Under terms of the deal, Shell will acquire the Panolin brand, product formulations for environmentally considerate lubricants, intellectual property, technical expertise and technology, along with the international customer base. The product portfolio includes hydraulic fluids, gear lubricants, universal tractor transmission oils, biodegradable heavy-duty engine oils, turbine oils, chainsaw oils and greases. Some products carry approvals from original equipment manufacturers.

“ECLs are biodegradable lubricants and can help contribute to a more sustainable future, offering greater protection for wildlife and ecosystems in the event that they come into contact with the environment, in comparison to conventional lubricants,” Shell said in a Nov. 2 news release. “They enable customers to reduce the risks of operating in sensitive environments. The global market for ECLs is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.”

Panolin is an independent lubricants manufacturer for applications in construction, marine, dredging and oil and gas exploration. The Lammle family, which owns the business, said the transaction achieves its long-standing goal of gaining higher visibility and wider reach for the Panolin brand.

“Shell will be a great custodian of the Panolin brand, with its financial strength, global distribution network and customer base, which will take the ECL business to the next level,” Panolin CEO Tim Lammle, who will join Shell as general manager of environmentally considerate lubricants.

Panolin said all employees involved in the business being acquired are expected to join Shell.

Shell said it will manufacture, distribute and market the Panolin portfolio that it acquired alongside its established Shell Naturelle branded products. Panolin has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Sweden and the United States, and currently distributes to North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

“We are entering into this strategic acquisition to grow our presence in the global industrial lubricants market, through differentiated, value-added propositions for our customers,” said Machteld de Haan, global executive vice president of Shell Lubricants. “Once completed, the acquisition will enable us to complement our existing range of sustainable products in response to increasing customer demand.”

Shell said it expects to fully integrate the business into its global lubricants business within two years after completion of the sale, which it expects to close early next year.