Sheffield-owned chemicals firm set to double in size after breakthrough in making sustainable household products

A Sheffield-owned chemicals company hopes to double in size after a breakthrough that will make household products more sustainble.

By David Walsh
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 7:50 am

In-house scientists at Libra Speciality Chemicals have developed new formulations of chemicals used in products including shampoo and washing-up liquid which require a third less energy to make.

The firm has spent £3.5m on a new plant to manufacture these ‘low-salt betaines’ and increase production.

Libra, which employs 65 and turns over £40m, hopes the investment will see it double in size.

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GRI Group chairman and chief executive Graham Royle at the Libra Speciality Chemicals betaine plant.

The firm is part of the Sheffield-based GRI Group.

Chairman and chief executive Graham Royle said: “This is a transformational investment that will help create a new generation of environmentally-friendly, renewable, plant-based cleaning products that are sulphate-free, energy efficient and create zero waste.

“We are committed to ‘Green Chemistry’, seeking ever-better environmental and sustainable solutions for everyday products.

“I’m very optimistic about the future. We’re innovating and winning new business in new markets around the world.”

Libra Speciality Chemicals was founded in 1971. Since joining the GRI Group in 2010, revenues have quadrupled to £40m and the workforce has doubled in size. The company says its factory is 100 per cent powered by renewable energy. Customers include Procter & Gamble, Unilever and PZ Cussons.

The firm borrowed £2m from Lloyds Bank.

Lee Bloodworth, relationship director, said: “The innovation and commitment to sustainability shown by Libra Speciality Chemicals is truly impressive and can support the development of a new generation of eco-friendly cleaning products.

“Growing consumer demand for sustainable products and the developing ‘green economy’ presents lots of opportunities.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.