Biorefinery Forchem boosts Respol’s growth targets

In October 2013, the Portuguese family company Respol Group purchased Forchem, a Finnish company specialised in processing tall oil. According to Forchem’s CEO, Risto Näsi, the merger will reinforce Respol’s growth strategy. Respol is one of the biggest producers of gum rosin derivatives in Eu-rope. At the same time, the company has secured its supply of high-quality raw material.

The tall oil distillation process of the biorefinery Forchem, which started up production in 2002, is based on the use of renewable natural resources. Forchem uses crude tall oil, a by-product of the pulp production process, as the raw material, and its process has a very low carbon footprint.

— The industry is based on a Finnish invention that is more than 100 years old. Tall oil is 100 per cent renewable and a raw material that genuinely fulfils the criteria for sustainability. Not a single tree is cut down for tall oil, for example, Näsi stresses.

Interesting investment

The industry has kept an eye on Forchem’s development for years. When the company made a 13-million-euro investment two years ago in a distillery located in Rauma with the goal of boosting ca-pacity and improving quality, it became an even more appealing investment target.

— We have a fantastic plant, efficient processes and skilled personnel. We also have good figures and a solid reputation, because we always live up to our promises, says Näsi.

— Respol has been Forchem’s customer since the beginning, and the transaction is in line with its growth strategy. Respol strives to improve the supply chain for gum rosin refinery capacity, to spe-cialise in new product areas, and to expand its customer base, particularly in Europe.

The future looks bright

The Global Cleantech Cluster Association placed Forchem in its list of the 30 most promising clean-tech companies in 2012. Forchem processes tall oil for upgrading special chemical industry products, biofuels for energy production and raw material for traffic fuels. Nearly all of the company’s products are exported to the EU area.

— In Respol we have found an owner who will continue to develop our operations for years to come. I believe that our operations will grow from where they stand today, although it’s a bit early to make any definite statement, says Näsi.

— For now, it’s business as usual. The future looks bright, as there is growing demand for this sus-tainable raw material.



This article is published in cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub and Invest in Finland.