What is Foolsaurus?

It's a glossary of investing terms edited and maintained by our analysts, writers and YOU, our Foolish community.

W.R. Grace

W.R. Grace (NYSE: GRA) is engaged in specialty chemicals and specialty materials businesses through its two operating segments, Grace Davison and Grace Performance Chemicals.

Website: http://www.grace.com/

Company Description

W.R. Grace & Co. is engaged in specialty chemicals and specialty materials businesses on a worldwide basis through two operating segments. In 2015, Grace announced plans to separate the two groups. One would contain process catalysts and specialty silicas; the other would consist of construction products and the Darex packaging sealants business.

Grace Davison includes specialty catalysts and materials used in a wide range of industrial applications that they manage through the following product groups:

  • Refining Technologies includes fluid catalytic cracking, or FCC, and hydroprocessing catalysts and chemical additives used by petroleum refineries
  • Materials Technologies includes engineered materials, coatings and sealants used in numerous industrial, consumer and packaging applications. The company's Dewey & Almy division is well known for the sealants used in food and beverage cans.
  • Specialty Technologies includes highly specialized catalysts and materials used in unique or proprietary applications and markets.

Key external factors for Grace's Refining Technologies product group are the economics of the petroleum refining industry, specifically the impacts of demand for transportation fuels and petrochemical products, and crude oil supply. FCC catalysts and some hydroprocessing catalysts are consumed at a relatively steady rate and replaced regularly, while other hydroprocessing catalysts are consumed over a period of years and replaced in an irregular pattern. Sales of their Materials Technologies and Specialty Technologies product groups are affected by global economic conditions, including the underlying growth rate of targeted end-use applications.

In 2014, Dow Chemical announced the sale of its polypropylene catalyst business to WR Grace.

Grace Construction Products includes specialty construction chemicals and specialty building materials used in commercial, infrastructure and residential construction that they manage by geographic region as follows:

  • GCP Americas includes products sold to customers in North, Central and South America
  • GCP Europe includes products sold to customers in Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India
  • GCP Asia Pacific includes products sold to customers in Asia (excluding India), Australia and New Zealand

Grace Construction Products sales are heavily influenced by global non-residential construction activity and U.S. residential construction activity. The company is well known for its concrete additives business.

W.R. Grace operates their business on a global scale with approximately 65% of their sales outside the United States. They conduct business in over 40 countries and in more than 20 currencies.

Source: W.R. Grace & Co. May 8th, 2009 10-Q

W.R. Grace emerged from bankruptcy once its outstanding lawsuits related to asbestos were settled.

Consumer Products

W.R. Grace played a role in the beer wars of the 1970s. They were the owner of Miller Brewing in the days of "The Champaign of Bottled Beer." They sold the business to Phillip Morris, who then gave industry leader Anheuser-Busch a run for their money with the successful development of "Lite Beer from Miller." Phillip Morris brought modern marketing to brewing.

Related Companies

Recent Mentions on Fool.com