A global group with a strong presence in emerging economies

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capital held by Wendel

In the Wendel portfolio since 2006

Stahl is the global leader in specialty formulations for coatings and surface treatments with a distinctive focus on innovation and sustainability. Stahl works with partners worldwide to develop and deliver the essential solutions behind everyday materials, including footwear, clothing, cars, and home furnishings. Stahl’s technologies help these materials to perform better for longer, while reducing their environmental impact.

(1) as of December 31, 2021.
Key figures
€831.3 m
2021 sales
€221 m
Amount invested by Wendel since 2006
c. 1,800
employees including 25 % of women (total headcount)
EcoVadis medal – Top 1% of companies evaluated

Why did we invest in Stahl?

Stahl is the world leader in specialty chemicals and services for leather surfaces and is capturing large market shares in niche applications for high-performance chemical coatings on other substrates. It enjoys high barriers to entry as a result of its expertise, the long-term relationships it maintains with its customers, which include major luxury and high-end car brands, as well as the very high level of skills of its “golden hands” technicians.

Stahl has prospects for sustained growth generated by global leather consumption markets, in Asia in particular, and the development of fast-growing niche markets for high-performance coatings. The potential consolidation in the sector we identified in 2006, combined with rigorous financial discipline, has allowed Stahl to expand further and strengthen its market leadership. It derives approximately 65% of its sales from high growth regions. Since its initial investment of €171 million in Stahl in 2006, Wendel has received €341 million in dividends and loan repayments, owing in particular to Stahl’s very strong cash generation. At the end of 2018, Wendel announced the acquisition of 4.8% of the capital of Stahl from Clariant for €50 million, bringing its total investment in the company to €221 million.


Quotes from

Wendel is a invaluable partner in our efforts to expand our market share. For nearly 15 years, Wendel has consistently supported us, and demonstrated decisive faith in Stahl, its management and employees to deliver a strong performance.

Maarten Heijbroek

Stahl benefits from high entry barriers thanks to its know-how, its long-term relationships with its customers and the very high level of qualification of its technicians (Golden Hands). These are all criteria that illustrate the profile of the investments sought by Wendel.

Félicie Thion de la Chaume
Board Member of Stahl

Outlook for development

Amid a still-volatile and slowdown global economy still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stahl is focusing its efforts on the rebound of activity while taking all necessary steps to protect its profitability and cash generation. To do so, it will focus on ongoing product innovation, while stepping up marketing efforts and capitalizing on the positions it has established in high-growth regions (over 65% of sales). Stahl also intends to continue to develop service-oriented made-to-order solutions to its clients and develop solutions for numerous substrates, in order to expand its scope of business and gain further market share. The Group will continue to capitalize on its strengths, which are its innovation capabilities (innovative environmentally-friendly solutions and customized technologies), its strong position with top clients, exposure to emerging markets and active cost and cash flow management (strict financial discipline and value-adding investments).

Despite recent difficult performances, Stahl remains buoyed by strong long-term trends, such as the shift in its markets to emerging markets, particularly in Asia, and environmental regulations. These are beneficial to Stahl, given its leadership in this area and the fact that it has the only solution in the sector to comply with these regulations throughout the production chain. The trend towards bio-based chemicals continues to develop, and Stahl is the market leader with a solid bio-based chemistry portfolio.


Stahl ESG’s approach

Through its culture of continuous improvement, Stahl limits the impact of its activities on the surrounding ecosystems. Stahl’s strategy is to promote greater transparency throughout the whole supply chain, leading to a more sustainable industry and a progressively lower environmental footprint. Sustainability also represents a significant opportunity for Stahl, to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace and drive operational excellence throughout the company.

For more information, see Chapter 4 of our Universal Registration Document.

Climate change
  • Decarbonation trajectory “committed SBTi 1.5°”
  • CO2 emissions reduction target of 25% on scope 3 for 2030 (compared to 2021)
Health & Safety

New safety awareness campaign, called Road to Zero. In 2020, the accident frequency rate decreased by 35% compared to 2019.

ESG performance of products

ZDHC commitment (“Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals”) since 2016. The Level 3 certification underlines Stahl’s commitment to using responsible chemistry to improve its environmental footprint.

  • Ecovadis Platinum Medal, ranked in the top 1% of companies evaluated
  • Objective to reach 100% of ISO 14 001 certified sites by 2023

Wendel’s role in corporate governance

Board of Directors
Claude Ehlinger (Chairman)
David Varet
Félicie Thion de la Chaume
Xavier Lemonnier
Caroline Bertin Delacour

Appointments and Compensation Committee
Félicie Thion de la Chaume (Chairman)
Claude Ehlinger

Audit Committee
Claude Ehlinger
Félicie Thion de la Chaume
Xavier Lemonnier
Caroline Bertin Delacour

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