This story is brought to you by The Daily Upside. For more crisp and insightful content, you can sign up for the free Daily Upside newsletter here.
Solvents, sports, and SUVs - here’s what they have in common:
Ineos, the London-based chemicals giant which specializes in solvents, adhesives and pigments, is doubling-down on its extracurricular activities.
On Friday the company announced a deal to acquire a one-third stake in the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team.
Led by billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe (one of the 100 richest men in the world), Ineos is not a household name on the American side of the pond. With a reported $80 billion in annual revenue, Ineos serves industrial end-markets with chemicals such as chlorine and titanium dioxide.
But in recent years, the company’s public profile has ballooned:
- Ineos has spent half a billion dollars acquiring French soccer club OGC Nice, Switzerland’s Lausanne Sports FC and U.K. cycling club “Team Sky” (which it renamed Team Ineos).
- Ineos has funded Britain’s efforts in the prestigious America’s Cup sailing race.
- It also (successfully) sponsored an effort by Kenyan Eliuid Kipchoge to run a sub-two-hour marathon.
While Ratcliffe says the sports pursuits are born from a genuine interest, others have criticized the company of “sportwashing,” or building a positive public image to dissociate from environmentally unfriendly business activities.
Mercedes Maven: Ineos' automotive ambitions don’t end at the race track. The company recently purchased a Mercedes plant in France and plans to launch its own SUV, called the Grenadier, in 2021.
Ola Kallenius, Daimler chairman, said Ineos could also become a future partner in building sustainable fuel technologies.
The Takeaway: Here is what Ineos' first car will look like.