BASF anniversary

Finding the Right Chemistry

BASF outside DPA
BASF, in its element.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    BASF, a highly traditional company, is likely to face difficulties in the future is it does not change its rigid strategy.

  • Facts


    • BASF was established in 1865 by entrepreneur Friedrich Engelhorn and three dozen founding partners.
    • One of its key innovations was the Haber-Bosch process, which revolutionized fertilizer production.
    • IG Farben, a conglomerate that included BASF, employed forced laborers in World War II.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

“We create chemistry” has been BASF’s motto for the last three years, and it describes a strategy that focuses on greater proximity to customers.

The company, based in Ludwigshafen in southwest Germany, has just celebrated its 150th anniversary. Looking back, it seems its motto could also be reversed, after all, it was the right chemistry among key players that enabled BASF to become the world leader in the industry.

This chemistry mattered right from the start. Unlike competitors Bayer and Hoechst, for example, BASF did not have its beginnings in a small family business, but was launched as a large-scale, industrial project. On April 6, 1865, Mannheim entrepreneur Friedrich Engelhorn assembled three dozen founding partners, including business people, bankers and even some potential customers, to launch a new company called “Badische Anilin & Soda-Fabrik.”

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.