In just nine years chemical engineer Jim Ratcliffe has quietly built a global chemicals giant by picking up unwanted subsidiaries from large companies such as BP, ICI and Dow._x000D_
Ineos was founded in 1998 when Ratcliffe, who is a qualified accountant and previously worked for Advent, the American private-equity house, led a £91m management buyout of Inspec’s chemicals division backed by Aberdeen Murray Johnstone. From headquarters in a leafy New Forest village, Ratcliffe then set about building a multinational chemical company through a series of acquisitions financed almost entirely by debt.
The company had a busy year in 2001, buying several businesses from ICI, including the £219m EVC unit. It also acquired Dow’s amine business and Degussa’s Phenolchemie operations for £264m. Two years later Ineos bought Degussa’s Methanova business for an undisclosed sum. And in 2005, it acquired two more operations, from BASF and Cybec. But the comp- any was still little noticed outside its industry.
It was Ratcliffe’s audacious £5.1 billion acquisition of Innovene, BP’s petrochemicals business, that catapulted Ineos into the leading ranks of the world petrochemicals industry. The deal also signalled a shift in direction away from specialist compounds towards the simpler chemicals from which they are made.
The purchase more than quadrupled Ineos’s turnover, taking it from just under £4 billion in 2005 to more than £18 billion the year after. Ineos is now the third-largest petrochemicals player in the world, behind BASF and Dow Chemical, with 68 manufacturing facilities in 17 countries employing 14,500 people.
Following a record bond issue in early 2006 that raised £1.6 billion to refinance the purchase of Innovene, Ineos continued on the acquisition trail, buying BP’s German ethylene oxide business for £76m in the middle of last year._x000D_
The company is also investing in its own manufacturing facilities, with plans to build £60m biodiesel plants at the former BP site in Grangemouth and at Antwerp, and a £125m phenol acetone plant in China.
Ratcliffe owns about two-thirds of the business, giving him a paper fortune of £3.3 billion and putting him among the ten wealthiest people in Britain, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

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Company details
ActivityChemicals manufacturer
Sales £m*18,134
Profit £m*630
Year endDec 06
Principal shareholdersJim Ratcliffe, management and staff (100%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure