Interview mit Ismo Pentti
Director, Manufacturing Excellence & Improvement 
Managing Director, Borealis Polymers Oy, Finland 

When was Borealis founded and what is the company specialised in?

Borealis was formed in 1994 through the merger of petrochemical and polyolefins businesses of Norwegian Statoil and Finnish Neste. The Latin word „Borealis“ means „from the north“ and reflects the company’s early ties to the Nordic region. The first Borealis head office was located in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Borealis has changed considerably over the years, developing from its early Nordic roots as a plastic manufacturer to a global provider of chemical solutions with worldwide operations.

What kind of products, services does the Borealis group offer?

What began with the production of polyolefins (mainly plastic granulate in the form of pellets) has been successfully augmented by the manufacture of base chemicals and fertilizers. These three legs form the solid foundation of the Borealis Group product portfolio.

How many branches, locations do you have worldwide?

Borealis currently employs around 6,500 people and serves customers in over 120 countries. Our major production sites are located in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United States. We operate an international Innovation Headquarters (IHQ) in Linz, Austria where we focus primarily on polymer design and compound research for polymer applications in the fields of infrastructure, automotive and advanced packaging. The IHQ works very closely with our other Innovation Centres in Stenungsund, Sweden and Porvoo, Finland.

Can you name some financial data?

In 2015, Borealis generated EUR 7.7 billion in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 988 million.

Can you name selected references?

Borealis works closely with its customers and industry partners to provide innovative and value-creating plastics solutions. One of our automotive grades was just recently awarded with the European Plastics Innovation Award. The material was developed in close partnership with BMW to fulfil its stringent quality requirements regarding paint adhesion. It was used in the BMW 7 front bumper and tailgate cladding.

Which business divisions are based in Austria?

Borealis’ global head office is located in Vienna. About 170 employees from around 30 different countries are working in all kinds of areas from finance to marketing or communications. The largest Borealis Group production facility is located in Linz, a centre of melamine and fertilizer production, and business support functions. Linz is also home to Borealis’ global research and development centre, the Innovation Headquarters (IHQ). Borealis manufactures around one million tonnes of polyolefins each year at the Schwechat plant, one of Europe’s most modern and important plastics production facilities.

What kind of relationship does the company have with Finland?

Porvoo is one of our strategic production locations in Europe where we produce both base chemicals – it is the only location where Borealis produces phenol and aromatics – and polyolefins. In addition to serving Nordic and Baltic countries, Porvoo is ideally situated to serve the Russian and eastern industrial markets. The Borealis Innovation Centre in Finland is our site of advanced catalyst and process research. It is also the home of our proprietary Borstar® technology and the first Borstar plant. The current workforce is about 900. The annual production capacity of polyolefins is over 600.000 tonnes. Just recently, we announced a EUR 40 million investment in a cracker upgrade. Together with Neste and Veolia, we will also build a new combined heat and power plant to supply steam and other utilities to Neste’s refinery and Borealis’ petrochemical plant in Porvoo.

What prospects to the future can you give us?

Borealis’ products and solutions have become an indispensable part of modern life. They also have a positive impact on society by addressing challenges such as climate change and access to energy, water, food and healthcare. We see clear business opportunities by addressing emerging sustainability challenges, such as the need to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling rates.

That is why we will continue to invest in our strategic Borealis production locations. We want to improve the competitiveness of our strong, integrated polyolefins business in Europe. Borealis is among the most innovative and reliable polyethylene and polypropylene suppliers in Europe. And we are committed to securing this position.

Ismo Pentti

Ismo Pentti (53), M. Sc. (Chem Eng), is Director Manufacturing Excellence & Improvement in Borealis AG in Austria and Managing Director of Borealis Polymers OY in Finland. He joined Neste OY (original parent company of Borealis) in Finland in 1986 and has held several managerial and senior leader positions in R&D, HSE, manufacturing and business in Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Austria. He became Managing Director of Borealis Polymers OY in January 2011. Mr. Pentti is based in the head office of Borealis in Vienna.

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