The history of Ercros: from the first factory built in 1817 to the present day
Over a century of history
Ercros is the result of the merger in 1989 of two companies, S.A. Cros and Unión Explosivos Río Tinto, S.A. (ERT), the two most important industrial groups in Spain at that time.
The history of Ercros dates back to 1817, when Francisco Cros set up his first chemical factory in Barcelona. In 1904, the company was incorporated as a public limited company and renamed S.A. Cros.
Like S.A. Cros, ERT was a company with a long tradition in the Spanish chemical industry. Its origins go back to Biscay, in the Basque Country, when, in 1872, the Sociedad Española de la Pólvora Dinamita (Spanish Dynamite Gunpowder Company) was set up. From this company, Unión Española de Explosivos, S.A. (UEE) was created 24 years later. In 1972 it merged with Compañía Española de Minas de Río Tinto, S.A., formed in 1954, and became ERT.
In 1987, S.A. Cros became the main shareholder of ERT, marking the beginning of a process that concluded in 1989 with the merger of both companies and the birth of Ercros.
In 2005, Ercros acquired the Aragonesas Group and a year later Derivados Forestales Group XXI.
Chemische Fabrik Elektron and Elektrizitäts AG sets up the Flix Electrochemical Company (SQEF), which in 1897 began construction of the Flix factory, the oldest of Ercros' production centres and the first in Spain and the third in Europe to obtain chlorine by means of an electrolysis process.
UEE merges with Compañía Española de Minas de Río Tinto, S.A., which had been established in 1954, to become ERT.
Formol y Derivados, S.A. (Fydsa), a subsidiary of Derivados Forestales Group, S.A., starts operations at the Almussafes factory, dedicated to the production of formaldehyde and resins which were used to supply the wood and furniture industries in the area.
Aiscondel, S.A. opens the Vila-seca II factory, a pioneer in the Tarragona industrial park. The factory was initially dedicated to direct chlorination and, later, to the production of the PVC chain.
Following the establishment of Ercros, Cepa is split into two companies: Cepa and Fermentaciones y Síntesis Españolas, S.A. (Fyse). The former is sold, while the latter remains in Ercros and is dedicated to the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients at the current facilities in Aranjuez.
The ban on the use of mercury in electrolytic processes in Europe forces the Flix and Vila-seca I chlorine plants that operate with mercury to stop.
Ercros implements the Act Plan, initially designed to increase the capacity of the Vila-seca I and Sabiñánigo electrolytic plants that operate with membrane technology.
Expansion of the Act Plan with new investments aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the Ercros industrial park and increasing the manufacturing capacity of the products in greatest demand.
Ercros regains the production volume of chlorine and soda it had before 2017 and increases production of PVC, swimming pool water treatment tablets, polyols and various active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Launch of the 3D Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2025, the aim of which is to transform Ercros into a sustainable company. The plan is organised around three dimensions: diversification, digitalisation and decarbonisation. It contains 20 projects and contemplates an investment of 69 million euros.
Ercros manages to overcome the covid pandemic, which affected the entire planet between 2020 and 2022, without having to shut down its facilities and being able to continue supplying its customers. The company is declared a supplier of essential services by the Spanish health administration.