100th anniversary of the commencement of Sumitomo Chemical’s operations

History of Sumitomo Chemical

The Path to a Global Chemical Company

Sumitomo Chemical started its operation as a fertilizer manufacturing plant under direct management of Sumitomo General Head Office to transform sulfur dioxide gas, harmful to crops if emitted as is, from copper smelting operations at Besshi Copper Mine into calcium superphosphate fertilizers. When production of fertilizer began at the end of 1915, there were only 158 employees. Over a period of almost a century, Sumitomo Chemical has grown to become a leading chemical company in the world, with over 30,000 employees working in no fewer than 150 group companies in over 30 countries.


Packing fertilizer for shipment

Building the foundation of a chemical company

The thirty years following the start of business was characterized by the age of "building the foundation of a chemical manufacturer." The first products of Sumitomo Fertilizer Works, the predecessor of Sumitomo Chemical, were sulfuric acid and calcium superphosphate. Introduction and development of new technology led to the production of ammonia, nitric acid, methanol, formalin, and other industrial chemicals, forming a diverse product range and the foundation for a chemical manufacturer.

We have compiled our history into a booklet and video, "Sumitomo Chemical 100 Years".


Ethylene plant (One Works)

Diversifying into petrochemicals and fine chemicals

During the next thirty years, Sumitomo Chemical entered the fields of petrochemicals and fine chemicals. In 1944, Sumitomo Chemical by getting merged with Japan Dyestuff Manufacturing Company (JDMC), entered the field of fine chemicals. Pynamin, a household insecticide, was launched in 1953, the first step into the field of agricultural chemicals. Sumithion, an organophosphorus insecticide for agricultural use, was launched in 1962 and very well accepted in the market. Contemporaneously, in 1958, an ethylene plant was completed in Ehime Prefecture, and Sumitomo Chemical began its petrochemical business.

We have compiled our history into a booklet and video, "Sumitomo Chemical 100 Years".


First phase of Pefrochemical Complex (Singapore)

Actively promoting global business

During the thirty years beginning in the 1970s, Sumitomo Chemical entered the age of global expansion. These years brought dramatic change due to a series of external factors: major oil crises, recession due to overvaluation of the yen, and the burst of the economic bubble. Sumitomo Chemical has continued to undertake reforms to keep in step with shifts in the global economy and society: restructuring its businesses by leaving fields that prove unprofitable, moving into the petrochemical business in Singapore and expanding overseas enterprises in specialty chemical businesses such as agricultural chemicals.
The ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industry saw rapid development in the 1990s, which meant growth in the IT-related chemicals field . Sumitomo Chemical responded by expanding its business with new overseas production bases.

We have compiled our history into a booklet and video, "Sumitomo Chemical 100 Years".


Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company complex
(Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

Becoming a truly global chemical company

The recent decade was characterized by the promotion of globally integrated management. Mega-competition has accelerated since the turn of the century, and FY 2004 (ended March 31, 2005), Sumitomo Chemical set forth as a goal "becoming a truly global chemical company" in the Corporate Business Plan FY 2004-2006. In keeping with this goal, Sumitomo Chemical has become involved with the Rabigh Project, expanded its IT-related Chemicals Sector, and promoted globalization of the Sumitomo Chemical Group as a whole. During FY 2014, net sales for consolidated subsidiaries overseas exceeded 60% of Sumitomo Chemical’s net sales, with overseas production accounting for more than 40% of the company’s total. Looking toward the second century of this global chemical company, the next step will be nurturing new business under the philosophy of creating new values with "Creative Hybrid Chemistry."

We have compiled our history into a booklet and video, "Sumitomo Chemical 100 Years".