Company Quick10K Filing
Sands China
Price94.77 EPS5
Shares23 P/E20
MCap2,210 P/FCF17
Net Debt-54 EBIT125
TEV2,156 TEV/EBIT17
TTM 2019-09-30, in MM, except price, ratios
10-K 2020-12-31 Filed 2021-02-26
10-Q 2020-09-30 Filed 2020-10-29
10-Q 2020-06-30 Filed 2020-07-30
10-Q 2020-03-31 Filed 2020-04-30
10-K 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-02-27
10-Q 2019-09-30 Filed 2019-10-30
10-Q 2019-06-30 Filed 2019-07-31
10-Q 2019-03-31 Filed 2019-05-07
10-K 2018-12-31 Filed 2019-02-27
10-Q 2018-09-30 Filed 2018-11-01
10-Q 2018-06-30 Filed 2018-08-01
10-Q 2018-03-31 Filed 2018-05-01
10-K 2017-12-31 Filed 2018-02-27
10-Q 2017-09-30 Filed 2017-10-27
10-Q 2017-06-30 Filed 2017-07-28
10-Q 2017-03-31 Filed 2017-04-27
10-K 2016-12-31 Filed 2017-02-24
10-Q 2016-09-30 Filed 2016-10-28
10-Q 2016-06-30 Filed 2016-07-29
10-Q 2016-03-31 Filed 2016-04-29
10-K 2015-12-31 Filed 2016-02-24
10-Q 2015-09-30 Filed 2015-10-28
10-Q 2015-06-30 Filed 2015-07-29
10-Q 2015-03-31 Filed 2015-04-29
10-K 2014-12-31 Filed 2015-02-27
10-Q 2014-09-30 Filed 2014-10-29
10-Q 2014-06-30 Filed 2014-07-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Filed 2014-04-30
10-K 2013-12-31 Filed 2014-02-26
10-Q 2013-09-30 Filed 2013-10-30
10-Q 2013-06-30 Filed 2013-07-31
10-Q 2013-03-31 Filed 2013-05-02
10-K 2012-12-31 Filed 2013-02-27
10-Q 2012-09-30 Filed 2012-11-02
10-Q 2012-06-30 Filed 2012-08-03
10-Q 2012-03-31 Filed 2012-05-07
10-K 2011-12-31 Filed 2012-02-27
10-Q 2011-09-30 Filed 2011-10-28
10-Q 2011-06-30 Filed 2011-07-29
10-Q 2011-03-31 Filed 2011-05-05
10-K 2010-12-31 Filed 2011-02-28
10-Q 2010-09-30 Filed 2010-11-04
10-Q 2010-06-30 Filed 2010-07-30
10-Q 2010-03-31 Filed 2010-04-29
10-K 2009-12-31 Filed 2010-02-26
8-K 2020-11-30
8-K 2020-10-21
8-K 2020-07-22
8-K 2020-04-21
8-K 2020-04-21
8-K 2020-02-20
8-K 2019-12-16
8-K 2019-10-23
8-K 2019-10-22
8-K 2019-07-24
8-K 2019-05-23
8-K 2019-04-30
8-K 2019-04-30
8-K 2019-02-21
8-K 2018-10-24
8-K 2018-09-16
8-K 2018-07-24
8-K 2018-04-24
8-K 2018-04-24
8-K 2018-04-10
8-K 2018-02-22
8-K 2018-01-30

SCL 10K Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. (Removed and Reserved)
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary
EX-21 scl-ex21_9.htm
EX-23 scl-ex23_6.htm
EX-24 scl-ex24_10.htm
EX-31.1 scl-ex311_8.htm
EX-31.2 scl-ex312_7.htm
EX-32 scl-ex32_12.htm

Sands China Earnings 2020-12-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow
1.61.31.00.60.30.02012201420172020
Assets, Equity
0.60.50.40.20.10.02012201420172020
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
0.10.10.0-0.0-0.1-0.12012201420172020
Ops, Inv, Fin

scl-10k_20201231.htm
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C.  20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(MARK ONE)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                     

Commission File Number 1-4462

 

STEPAN COMPANY

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

36-1823834

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)

 

 

 

22 West Frontage Road, Northfield, Illinois

 

60093

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number including area code: 847-446-7500

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $1 par value

SCL

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company.  See definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

  Large accelerated filer  

Accelerated filer  

Non-accelerated filer  

Smaller reporting company  

Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C 7262(b)) by registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.   

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act)    Yes      No  

Aggregate market value at June 30, 2020, of voting and non-voting common stock held by nonaffiliates of the registrant: $2,065,082,892*

Number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock as of January 31, 2021:

 

Class

 

Outstanding at January 31, 2021

Common Stock, $1 par value

 

22,476,752

Documents Incorporated by Reference

 

Part of Form 10-K

 

Document Incorporated

Part III, Items 10-14

 

Portions of the Proxy Statement for Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held

April 27, 2021.

* Based on reported ownership by all directors and executive officers at June 30, 2020.

 

 

 

 


 

STEPAN COMPANY

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

December 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

Page No

 

 

PART I

 

Item 1.

 

Business

3

 

 

Information About our Executive Officers

5

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

7

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

16

Item 2.

 

Properties

16

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

17

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

18

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

19

Item 6.

 

(Removed and Reserved)

20

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

21

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

41

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

42

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

86

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

86

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

88

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

88

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

88

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

88

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

88

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

89

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

91

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

92

 

 

 


 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, other than purely historical information, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act). These statements include statements about Stepan Company’s and its subsidiaries’ (the Company) plans, objectives, strategies, financial performance and outlook, trends, the amount and timing of future cash distributions, prospects or future events and involve known and unknown risks that are difficult to predict. As a result, our actual financial results, performance, achievements or prospects may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “may,” “could,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “guidance,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “likely,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “illustrative” and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company and its management based on their knowledge and understanding of the business and industry, are inherently uncertain. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, and stockholders should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. There are a number of risks, uncertainties and other important factors, many of which are beyond the Company’s control, that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such risks, uncertainties and other important factors, include, among others, the risks, uncertainties and factors set forth under “Part I-Item IA. Risk Factors” and “Part II-Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and the risks and uncertainties related to the following:

 

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

accidents, unplanned production shutdowns or disruptions in any of the Company’s manufacturing facilities;

 

reduced demand for Company products due to customer product reformulations or new technologies;

 

the Company’s inability to successfully develop or introduce new products;

 

compliance with environmental, health and safety, product registration and anti-corruption laws;

 

the Company’s ability to make acquisitions of suitable candidates and successfully integrate acquisitions;

 

global competition and the Company’s ability to successfully compete;

 

volatility of raw material, natural gas and electricity costs as well as any disruption in their supply;

 

disruptions in transportation or significant changes in transportation costs;

 

downturns in certain industries and general economic downturns;

 

international business risks, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates, legal restrictions and taxes;

 

unfavorable resolution of litigation against the Company;

 

the Company’s ability to keep and protect its intellectual property rights;

 

potentially adverse tax consequences due to the international scope of the Company’s operations;

 

downgrades to the Company’s credit ratings or disruptions to the Company’s ability to access well-functioning capital markets;

 

conflicts, military actions, terrorist attacks and general instability, particularly in certain energy-producing nations, along with increased security regulations;

 

cost overruns, delays and miscalculations in capacity needs with respect to the Company’s expansion or other capital projects;

 

interruption of, damage to or compromise of the Company’s IT systems and failure to maintain the integrity of customer, colleague or Company data;

 

the Company’s ability to retain its executive management and other key personnel;

 

the Company’s ability to operate within the limitations of debt covenants; and

 

the other factors set forth under “Risk Factors.”

These factors are not necessarily all of the important factors that could cause the Company’s actual financial results, performance, achievements or prospects to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by any of the Company’s forward-looking statements. Other unknown or unpredictable factors also could harm the Company’s results. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on the Company’s behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements set

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forth above. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake or assume any obligation to update publicly any of these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, new information or future events, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking statements, except to the extent required by applicable laws. If we update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be drawn that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.

The “Company,” “we,” “our” or “us” means Stepan Company and one or more of its subsidiaries only.

 

 

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PART I

 

 

Item 1.  Business

Stepan Company, which was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware on February 19, 1959, and its subsidiaries produce specialty and intermediate chemicals, which are sold to other manufacturers and used in a variety of end products.  The Company has three reportable segments: Surfactants, Polymers and Specialty Products.

Revenue-Generating Products

Surfactants are chemical agents that affect the interaction between two surfaces; they can provide actions such as detergency (i.e., the ability of water to remove soil from another surface), wetting and foaming, dispersing, emulsification (aiding two dissimilar liquids to mix), demulsification, viscosity modifications and biocidal disinfectants. Surfactants are the basic cleaning agent in detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, fine fabrics, floors and walls.  Surfactants are also used for the same purpose in shampoos, body wash and conditioners, fabric softeners, toothpastes, cosmetics and other personal care products.  Commercial and industrial applications include emulsifiers for agricultural products, emulsion polymers such as floor polishes and latex foams and coatings, wetting and foaming agents for wallboard manufacturing and surfactants for oilfield applications.

Polymers, which include polyurethane polyols, polyester resins and phthalic anhydride, are used in a variety of applications.  Polyurethane polyols are used in the manufacture of rigid foam for thermal insulation in the construction industry.  They are also a raw material base for coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE) applications.  Polyester resins, which include liquid and powdered products, are used in CASE applications. Phthalic anhydride is used in polyester resins, alkyd resins, and plasticizers for applications in construction materials and components of automotive, boating, and other consumer products and internally in the Company’s polyols.

Specialty Products are chemicals used in food, flavoring, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical applications.

Competitive Conditions

The Company does not sell directly to the retail market but sells to a wide range of manufacturers in many industries and has many competitors.  The principal methods of competition are product performance, price, technical assistance and ability to meet the specific needs of individual customers.  These factors allow the Company to compete on bases other than price alone, reducing the severity of competition compared to that experienced in the sales of commodity chemicals having identical performance characteristics.  The Company is one of the leading merchant producers of surfactants in the world.  In the case of surfactants, much of the Company’s competition comes from several large global and regional producers and the internal divisions of larger customers.  In the manufacture of polymers, the Company competes with the chemical divisions of several large companies, as well as with other small specialty chemical manufacturers.  In specialty products, the Company competes with several large firms plus numerous small companies.

Material Resources

Substantially all of the Company’s manufacturing plants operate on electricity and interruptible natural gas. During peak heating demand periods, gas service to all plants may be temporarily interrupted for varying periods ranging from a few days to several months.  The plants operate on fuel oil during these periods of interruption. In January 2020, the Company’s Millsdale, Illinois facility suffered a power outage that caused a temporary shutdown of the plant and further related operational issues. All production lines were fully operational prior to the end of the first quarter 2020. The Company’s operations have not experienced any other plant shutdowns or adverse effects upon its business in recent years that were caused by a lack of available energy sources, other than temporary service interruptions brought on by mechanical failure or severe weather conditions.

The principal raw materials used by the Company are petroleum or plant based. For 2021, the Company has contracts with suppliers that cover most of its forecasted requirements for major raw materials and is not substantially dependent upon any one supplier.

Compliance with Government Regulations

Compliance with applicable country, state and local regulations regarding the discharge of materials into the environment, or otherwise relating to the protection of the environment, resulted in capital expenditures by the Company of $7.8 million during 2020.  These expenditures represented approximately six percent of the Company’s total 2020 capital expenditures. Capitalized environmental expenditures are depreciated and charged on a straight-line basis to pretax earnings over their estimated useful lives, which are typically 10 years. Recurring costs associated with the operation and maintenance of facilities for waste treatment and waste disposal and managing environmental compliance in ongoing operations at our manufacturing locations were approximately $35.4

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million in 2020. Compliance with such regulations is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s earnings and competitive position in the foreseeable future.

Human Capital Resources

At December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company employed 2,293 and 2,284 persons, respectively. We view our employees as critical to helping us realize our vision of delivering innovative chemical solutions for a cleaner, healthier, more energy efficient world. The Company’s five Values reflect our shared commitment to this vision and serve as a guide as we operate our business: (1) People First: Empowering Everyone to Make a Difference – we listen, share and recognize great work; (2) Integrity: Doing the Right Thing – we do what is right and safe, and can be counted upon to fulfill our commitments and speak up when we have concerns; (3) Customer Focused: Partnering to Deliver Value – our approach to collaborative chemistry helps our customers’ products perform and deliver solutions that serve the needs of our global community; (4) Continuous Improvement: Improving Every Day – we embrace a spirit of continuous learning to improve the sustainability of our practices and our products; and (5) Growth, Innovation and Sustainability: Shaping the Future Through Curiosity – we see incredible possibilities and accept the challenge to make a positive impact.

Safety for all employees, our business partners, and the communities in which we operate continues to be a top priority. We have a long-standing focus on safety and responsible chemicals management, as well as a commitment to the environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a U.S.-based industry association. As part of this focus and commitment, the Company invests in behavior based and task-based safety programs for its global workforce. The goal of these programs is to help establish habits and behaviors that promote safety awareness, thinking, and responsiveness. All Company facilities are ISO 9001:2015 certified, and the Company conforms to the ACC Responsible Care Management System (RCMS)® at its U.S. sites. In addition, facilities outside the United States are encouraged to participate in their country-specific Responsible Care® program equivalents. Special recognition is given annually to the Company’s facilities that have demonstrated safety achievements. The President’s Safety Award is given to sites that meet specific criteria for recordable incidents and injuries, as well as other safety and compliance requirements, over the course of the year.

We depend on our highly skilled workforce to reach our business goals, and through a robust commitment to promote safety and well-being, enable professional development, and provide excellent benefits, the Company aims to attract and retain top talent.  We value the fact that we have a diverse, inclusive, and engaged community of workers, and our goal, is to create workplace environments built on respect, safety, strong teamwork, and high competency.  Employee feedback is regularly solicited on workplace practices and culture.  Results from these surveys are used at the corporate and site levels to define needs and develop improvement plans.  Across our operations, employees are encouraged and supported in developing the technical and leadership skills they need to excel at their work and to advance in their roles.  The Company provides an array of opportunities, including our Emerging Leaders Program, Leadership Development Program, technical training and certifications, language training, and educational assistance.  Developing our talent pipeline and retaining our skilled labor force is a key focus, and our objective is to support employees’ progress toward their professional goals through opportunities within the Company.  Employees receive comprehensive and competitive benefits packages aimed at attracting top talent and supporting needs for work-life balance.  Employees are rewarded for their positive contributions to company success with Pay-for-Performance incentives.

Acquisitions and Dispositions

See Note 20, Acquisitions, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for information regarding the Company’s acquisition activities.

Website

The Company’s website address is www.stepan.com.  The Company makes available free of charge on or through its website, its annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC).  The website also makes available the Company’s sustainability report, code of conduct, corporate governance guidelines and the charters for the audit, compensation and development, compliance and nominating and corporate governance committees of the Company’s Board of Directors.

 

4


 

Information About our Executive Officers

The Company’s executive officers are elected annually by the Board of Directors at the first meeting following the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to serve until their respective successors are duly qualified and elected.

The executive officers of the Company, their ages and certain other information as of February 26, 2021, are as follows:

 

Name

 

Age

 

Title

 

Year First

Elected

Officer

F. Quinn Stepan, Jr.

 

60

 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

 

1997

Scott R. Behrens

 

51

 

President and Chief Operating Officer

 

2014

Arthur W. Mergner

 

57

 

Executive Vice President, Supply Chain

 

2014

Debra A. Stefaniak

 

59

 

Vice President, Business Enablement

 

2015

Sean T. Moriarty

 

51

 

Vice President and General Manager –Surfactants

 

2017

Luis E. Rojo

 

48

 

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

 

2018

Janet A. Catlett

 

44

 

Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

 

2018

Jason S. Keiper

 

47

 

Vice President and Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer

 

2019

David G. Kabbes

 

58

 

Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

 

2019

Richard F. Stepan

 

44

 

Vice President and General Manager –Polymers

 

2021

F. Quinn Stepan, Jr. assumed the position of Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors in January 2017.  He has served the Company as Chief Executive Officer since January 2006.  He served the Company as President from January 2006 through December 2020.

Scott R. Behrens has served the Company as President and Chief Operating Officer since January 2021.  From September 2014 through December 2020, he served as Vice President and General Manager – Surfactants of the Company.

Arthur W. Mergner has served the Company as Executive Vice President, Supply Chain since January 2021.  From August 2017 through December 2020, he served as Vice President, Supply Chain and from April 2014 until August 2017, he served as Vice President and General Manager – Polymers of the Company.

Debra A. Stefaniak has served the Company as Vice President, Business Enablement since October 2018.  From February 2014 to September 2018, she served as Vice President, Business Transformation of the Company.

Sean T. Moriarty has served the Company as Vice President and General Manager – Surfactants since January 2021.  From September 2017 through December 2020, he served as Vice President and General Manager – Polymers and from September 2014 through September 2017, he served as Vice President and General Manager - North America Surfactants of the Company.

Luis E. Rojo has served the Company as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since April 2018.  From February 2018 to April 2018, he served as Global Hair Care Finance Director at Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), a branded consumer packaged goods company.  From April 2014 to February 2018, he served as NA Hair Care Finance Director at P&G.

Janet A. Catlett has served the Company as Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer since July 2018.  From March 2017 to July 2018, she served as Senior Director Total Rewards at Hollister Incorporated, which develops, manufactures and markets health care products and services worldwide.  From September 2014 to March 2017, she served as Director Total Rewards at Hollister Incorporated.

Jason S. Keiper has served the Company as Vice President and Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer since June 2019.  From October 2018 to June 2019, Dr. Keiper served as Head, Product Technology and Engineering, of Syngenta, an agriculture company.  From 2015 to September 2018, Dr. Keiper served as Head, Global Formulation and Analytical Development; Technology and Engineering of Syngenta.

David G. Kabbes has served the Company as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Company since July 2019.  From January 2018 to June 2019, Mr. Kabbes served as Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Legal Officer of Bunge Limited, an agricultural and food ingredient company. From February 2015 to December 2017, Mr. Kabbes served as General Counsel and Managing Director – Corporate Affairs of Bunge Limited.

5


Richard F. Stepan has served the Company as Vice President and General Manager – Polymers since January 2021.  From January 2019 through December 2020, Mr. Stepan served as Vice President, Consumer Products, and from September 2014 through December 2018, Mr. Stepan served as Director, Consumer Products, North America of the Company.


6


Item 1A. Risk Factors

The following discussion identifies the most significant factors that may materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.  These and other factors, many of which are beyond the Company’s control, may cause future results of operations to differ materially from past results or those results currently expected or desired. The following information should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (included in Item 7 of this Form 10-K) and the Company’s consolidated financial statements and related notes (included in this Form 10-K).

Business and Operations Risks

The COVID-19 pandemic could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our operations and affected our business and could continue to do so, including as a result of government authorities imposing mandatory closures, work-from-home orders and social distancing protocols, or imposing other restrictions that could materially adversely affect our ability to adequately staff and maintain our operations. Specifically, in 2020 we experienced a temporary facility closure in response to government mandates in one jurisdiction in which we operate. In addition, for the safety of our employees, we temporarily halted one distinct part of production at one facility in response to positive diagnoses of employees for COVID-19 in that part of the facility. We may experience additional closures in the future. The COVID‑19 pandemic, and resulting restrictions and perceptions of health risks, have affected and could have long-term effects on our customers and the economies of countries in which we and our customers operate, and demand for certain of our products could be adversely affected. For example, in 2020, construction project delays and cancellations related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic reduced demand for the Company’s rigid polyol products. The continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and related governmental actions and initiatives could also impact our ability to secure supplies for our facilities and to provide appropriate personal protective equipment for our employees, which could impact our operations. Our operations could also be adversely affected by other impacts of the pandemic, including, among others, disruptions to our supply of raw materials and transportation and delivery of our products. Because the Company cannot predict the duration or broader impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the Company cannot be reasonably estimated, but the pandemic could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Chemical manufacturing is inherently hazardous and may result in accidents or may require planned or unplanned production slowdowns or shutdowns, which may disrupt our operations or expose us to significant losses or liabilities that may have a material impact on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Manufacturing facilities in the Company’s industry are subject to planned and unplanned production slowdowns and shutdowns, turnarounds and outages. Unplanned production disruptions may occur for external reasons, such as natural disasters, weather, disease, strikes, transportation interruption, government regulation, political unrest or terrorism, or internal reasons, such as fire, explosions, mechanical failure, labor-related work stoppages or slowdowns, maintenance, discharges, contamination, environmental remediation or other manufacturing problems. Certain of our production facilities are, and production facilities acquired or built in the future may be, located in areas where unplanned disruptions are more likely. Alternative facilities with sufficient capacity may not be available, may cost substantially more or may take a significant amount of time to increase production or qualify with Company customers, each of which could negatively impact the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Further, some of the Company’s products cannot currently be made, or made in the volume required, at more than one of the Company’s locations. For some of these products, the Company has access to external market suppliers, but the Company cannot guarantee that these products will be available to it in amounts sufficient to meet its requirements or at a cost that is competitive with the Company’s cost of manufacturing these products. Long-term production disruptions may cause Company customers to seek alternative supply, which could further adversely affect Company profitability.

Although the Company takes precautions to enhance the safety of its operations and minimize the risk of disruptions, the hazards associated with chemical manufacturing and the related storage and transportation of raw materials, products and wastes are inherent in our operations. We cannot eliminate the risk of accidental contamination, discharge or injury resulting from those materials. Also, our suppliers and customers may use and/or generate hazardous materials, and we may be required to indemnify our suppliers, customers or waste disposal contractors against damages and other liabilities arising out of the production, handling or storage of our products or raw materials or the disposal of related wastes. Potential risks include explosions and fires, chemical spills and other discharges or releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases, and pipeline and storage tank leaks and ruptures. Those hazards may result in personal injury and loss of life, damage to property, damages to public health and contamination of the environment, which may result in a suspension of operations and the imposition of civil or criminal fines, penalties and other sanctions, cleanup costs, and claims by governmental entities or third-parties. Furthermore, the Company is subject to present and future claims with respect to workplace exposure, exposure of toxic or hazardous substances to contractors on Company premises as well as other persons located nearby, workers' compensation and other matters.

7


We are dependent on the continued operation of our production facilities and the loss or shutdown of operations over an extended period could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. The Company maintains property, business interruption, products liability and casualty insurance policies, which we believe are in accordance with customary industry practices, as well as insurance policies covering other types of risks, including pollution legal liability insurance.  However, some of these potential manufacturing hazards and risks may not be insurable. Moreover, even when such hazards and risks are insurable, the insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all losses resulting from the occurrence of any of these events.  Each of these insurance policies is subject to customary exclusions, deductibles and coverage limits, in accordance with industry standards and practices.  As a result of market conditions, premiums and deductibles for certain insurance policies can increase substantially and, in some instances, certain insurance may become unavailable or available only with reduced amounts of coverage. There is also a risk, beyond the reasonable control of the Company, that an insurance carrier may not have the financial resources to cover an insurable loss.  As a result, the occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The volatility of raw material, natural gas and electricity costs, as well as any disruption in their supply may result in increased costs and materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The costs of raw materials, natural gas and electricity represent a substantial portion of the Company’s operating costs.  The principal raw materials used in the Company’s products are petroleum-based or plant-based. Natural gas is used in the Company’s manufacturing sites primarily to generate steam for its manufacturing processes. The prices of many of these raw materials can be subject to periods of rapid and significant instability.  These fluctuations in prices may be affected by supply and demand factors, such as general economic conditions, regulatory developments with respect to and restrictions on the transport of raw materials (some of which may be viewed as hazardous), currency exchange rates, political instability or terrorist attacks, all of which are beyond the Company’s control.  The Company may not be able to pass increased raw material or energy costs on to customers through increases in product prices as a result of arrangements the Company has with certain customers and competitive pressures in the market. In addition, the Company’s suppliers are subject to planned and unplanned production slowdowns and shutdowns, turnarounds and outages. Unplanned production disruptions may occur for external reasons, such as natural disasters, weather, disease, strikes, transportation interruption, government regulation, political unrest or terrorism, or internal reasons, such as fire, explosions, mechanical failure, labor-related work stoppages or slowdowns, maintenance, discharges, contamination, environmental remediation or other manufacturing problems. Certain of our suppliers’ facilities are located in areas where unplanned disruptions are more likely. In the event of supply disruptions, raw materials may not be available to the Company in amounts sufficient to meet our requirements, and alternative raw materials may not be available, may cost substantially more or may take a significant amount of time to for the Company to qualify. If the Company is unable to minimize the effects of increased raw material and energy costs or pass such increased costs on to customers, or manage any interruption to the supply of raw materials or energy, its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

The Company relies heavily on third-party transportation to deliver raw materials to Company manufacturing facilities and ship products to Company customers. Disruptions in transportation or significant changes in transportation costs could affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company relies heavily on railroads, ships, and other over-the-road shipping methods to transport raw materials to its manufacturing facilities and to ship finished products to customers. Transport operations are exposed to various risks, such as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, technological problems, work stoppages, personnel shortages and operating hazards, as well as interstate and international transportation regulations. If the Company, its suppliers or third-party transportation operators experience transportation problems, or if there are significant changes in the cost of these services, the Company may not be able to arrange efficient alternatives and timely means to obtain raw materials or ship finished product, which could result in a material adverse effect on Company revenues, costs and operating results. For example, during the second half of 2020, unit margins in our Polymers segment were negatively impacted by incremental raw material costs incurred as a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closing certain locks on the Illinois River, which the Company’s Millsdale, Illinois facility uses for obtaining raw materials and shipping products.

Conflicts, military actions, terrorist attacks and general instability, particularly in certain energy-producing nations, along with increased security regulations related to our industry, could adversely affect the Company’s business.

Conflicts, military actions and terrorist attacks have precipitated economic instability and turmoil in financial markets. Instability and turmoil, particularly in energy-producing nations, may result in raw material cost increases. The uncertainty and economic disruption resulting from hostilities, military action or acts of terrorism may impact any or all of the Company’s facilities and operations or those of its suppliers or customers. Accordingly, any conflict, military action or terrorist attack that impacts the Company or any of its suppliers or customers, or any resulting economic instability resulting from such conflict, military action or terrorist attack, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

8


Cost overruns, delays and miscalculations in capacity needs with respect to the Company’s expansion or other capital projects could adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

From time to time, the Company initiates expansion and other significant capital projects. Projects of this type are subject to risks of delay or cost overruns inherent in any large construction project resulting from numerous factors, including the following: shortages of equipment, materials or skilled labor; work stoppages; unscheduled delays in the delivery of ordered materials and equipment; unanticipated cost increases; difficulties in obtaining necessary permits or in meeting permit conditions; difficulties in meeting regulatory requirements or obtaining regulatory approvals; availability of suppliers to certify equipment for existing and enhanced regulations; design and engineering problems; and failure or delay of third-party service providers, civil unrest and labor disputes. Significant cost overruns or delays in completing a capital project could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s return on investment, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, if the Company misjudges its future capacity needs, this too could negatively impact its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Market, Competition and Strategic Risks

Customer product reformulations or new technologies can reduce the demand for the Company’s existing products, and the Company may not be successful in developing or introducing new products.

The Company’s products are used in a broad range of customer product applications. Changes in customer manufacturing processes, customer product reformulations, development and use of new technologies or changes in regulatory, legislative or industry requirements may lead to reduced consumption of the Company’s products or cause customers to consider some Company products obsolete or less attractive.

For example, increased concerns regarding the safety of 1,4 dioxane in consumer products and its potential impact on human health and the environment may lessen the demand for certain of the Company’s products. The Company generates 1,4 dioxane as a by-product during the manufacture of certain of its surfactant products, including alkoxylates and ether sulfates, used by its customers as cleaning agents in household cleaning, personal care and cosmetics products. In their finished form, consumer products that contain ethoxylated surfactants may contain trace amounts of 1,4 dioxane. 1,4 dioxane has been categorized by regulators as a toxic and carcinogenic substance at certain levels. In December 2019, New York adopted a law that, beginning in 2022 and 2023, will permit no more than trace amounts of the chemical in cleaning, personal care and cosmetics products. California and New Jersey, likewise, are also considering regulating 1,4 dioxane. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) also continues to examine 1,4 dioxane as part of its environmental and occupational regulatory authority. We expect our customers to continue reformulating their personal care, cosmetics and cleaning products in 2021 to meet New York’s 2022 and 2023 deadlines. These trends and corresponding changes in consumer preferences could reduce demand for our ethoxylated surfactant products, as our customers look to reduce the levels of ethoxylated surfactants in their finished products to stay below the maximum allowed levels or transition to alternative surfactants with lower levels of 1,4 dioxane. We are currently modifying our manufacturing process to reduce 1,4 dioxane content to allow customers to continue to use ethoxylated surfactants at current use levels, while also offering consumer product formulation prototypes that contain low/no dioxane containing surfactants currently offered by the Company.

It is imperative that the Company continue to develop new products to replace the sales of products that mature and decline in use, though the Company may not be successful in achieving its growth expectations from developing new products. Moreover, the Company cannot be certain that the costs it incurs investing in new product and technology development will result in an increase in revenues or profits commensurate with its investment, and the introduction of any new products may be disrupted or delayed by manufacturing or other technical difficulties. The Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected if the Company is unable to successfully manage the maturation of existing products and the successful development and introduction of new products.

To the extent the Company seeks acquisition opportunities, it may not be able to make acquisitions of suitable candidates or integrate acquisitions successfully.

In recent years, the Company has used acquisitions to expand into new markets and to enhance its position in its existing markets. To the extent it seeks to do so in the future it may not be able to successfully identify suitable candidates, negotiate appropriate acquisition terms, obtain financing needed to consummate those acquisitions, complete proposed acquisitions or successfully integrate acquired businesses into its existing operations. In addition, any acquisition, once successfully integrated, may not perform as planned, be accretive to earnings, or otherwise prove beneficial to the Company.

Acquisitions involve numerous risks, including the assumption of undisclosed or unindemnified liabilities, difficulties in the assimilation of the operations and the transfer of all necessary licenses and permits, technologies, services and products of the

9


acquired companies and the diversion of management’s attention from other business concerns. In addition, prior acquisitions have resulted, and future acquisitions could result, in the incurrence of substantial additional indebtedness and other expenses.

The Company faces significant global competition in each of its operating segments.  If the Company cannot successfully compete in the marketplace, its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

The Company faces significant competition from numerous global companies as well as national, regional and local companies in the markets it serves. Many of the Company’s competitors have access to greater financial resources, which may enable them to invest significant capital into their businesses, including expenditures for research and development. Some of the Company’s competitors have their own raw material resources and may be able to produce products more economically. In addition, some of the Company’s customers have internal manufacturing capabilities that allow them to achieve make-versus-buy economics, which may result at times in the Company losing business with these customers in volumes that could adversely affect the Company’s profitability.

To achieve expected profitability levels, the Company must, among other things, maintain the service levels, product quality and performance and competitive pricing necessary to retain existing customers and attract new customers as well as continue to develop and introduce new products.  The Company’s inability to do so could place it at a competitive disadvantage relative to its competitors, and if the Company cannot successfully compete in the marketplace, its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

Downturns in certain industries, in some cases driven by consumer preferences, and general economic downturns may have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Economic downturns may adversely affect users of some end products that are manufactured using the Company’s products and the industries in which such end products are used. During economic downturns, these users may reduce their volume of purchases of such end products or may purchase alternative products, which would reduce demand for the Company’s products. In addition, increasing concern among consumers, public health professionals and government agencies about health and wellness issues could lead some of the Company’s customers to limit the use of certain of our products or result in harm to the Company’s reputation. Reduced demand from the primary end markets for the Company’s products, such as the consumer products industry, could adversely affect the Company. Additionally, uncertain conditions in the credit markets pose a risk to the overall economy that may impact consumer demand for such end products and customer demand of some of the Company’s products, as well as the Company’s ability to manage normal commercial relationships with its customers, suppliers and creditors. Some of the Company’s customers may not be able to meet the terms of sale and suppliers may not be able to fully perform their contractual obligations due to tighter credit markets or a general slowdown in economic activity.

In the event that economic conditions worsen or result in a prolonged downturn or recession, or consumer‑driven preferences result in reduced demand for our products, the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

If the Company is unable to protect its intellectual property rights, the Company’s ability to compete may be negatively impacted.

The Company’s patents and other intellectual property may not prevent competitors from independently developing or selling similar or duplicative products and services, and there can be no assurance that the resources the Company invests to protect its intellectual property will be sufficient or that the Company’s intellectual property portfolio will adequately deter misappropriation or improper use of its technology. The Company could also face competition in some countries where it has not invested in an intellectual property portfolio, or where intellectual property rights are more difficult to obtain and/or assert. In addition, the Company may be the target of aggressive and opportunistic enforcement of patents by third parties, including non-practicing entities. Regardless of the merit of such claims, responding to infringement claims can be expensive and time-consuming. If the Company is found to infringe any third-party rights, it could be required to pay substantial damages or it could be enjoined from offering some of its products and services. Also, there can be no assurances that the Company will be able to obtain or renew from third parties the licenses it may need in the future on reasonable terms or at all.

Regulatory and Legal Risks

The Company is subject to a variety of environmental, health and safety and product registration laws dealing with the production and sale of chemicals that could require us to incur additional costs or to reformulate or discontinue certain of our products, or expose us to liability or enforcement actions.

The Company’s operations are regulated under a number of federal, state, local and foreign environmental, health and safety laws and regulations that govern, among other things, the production and marketing of chemical substances and the discharge, use,

10


handling, transport, storage and disposal of hazardous materials into the air, soil and water. In the United States, these laws and regulations include, but are not limited to the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Occupational Safety and Health Act and state and local laws, such as California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Analogous laws outside the United States apply to us in many jurisdictions, including, among others, the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) regulation and its Biocidal Products Regulation. Compliance with these environmental, health and safety laws and regulations is a major consideration for the Company, and to comply with some of these laws, we may need to alter our product lines or implement different or more costly manufacturing processes (including the installation of pollution control equipment), which could lead to a material adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, the transportation of certain raw materials is highly regulated and is subject to increased regulation or restrictions. These regulations may restrict or prohibit transport of these raw materials, resulting in these raw materials not being available to the Company in quantities desired by the Company or at costs attractive to the Company, which may restrict or substantially limit the Company’s manufacturing operations.

The REACH regulation, a registration system that imposes obligations on manufacturers and importers of chemicals and other products into the European Union to compile and file reports and testing data on, and perform safety assessments for, certain chemical substances, was fully implemented in 2018, and any new substances introduced to the EU market in the future must be registered. The costs associated with the Company’s compliance with these registrations have been substantial and are expected to increase as product sales increase because higher tonnage bands have higher annual registration fees and require more testing to support the registration. Moreover, if a registration in the future is not submitted by any applicable deadline, our ability to sell those products may be negatively impacted until the registration process has been completed. In addition, the European Chemical Agency is evaluating existing chemical registrations and may require additional testing and data collection. Chemicals may be assessed and removed from EU commerce entirely, potentially requiring the Company to discontinue certain product lines and to reformulate others, which could materially alter our marketplace position or otherwise have a material financial effect on our costs or revenues. Regulators in other countries are also implementing chemical registration regulations similar to the REACH regulation.

Furthermore, some of the laws and regulations applicable to us have changed in recent years to impose new obligations or induce increasing compliance costs that could also force us to reformulate or discontinue certain of our products. For example, the European Union is now requiring a review of existing active biocide substances, and based on this review, the European Commission or an individual member state may decide not to authorize the product for continued sale. As another example, TSCA now mandates that the USEPA must designate “high priority” chemicals and perform a risk evaluation, which could result in a finding of “unreasonable risk” and a decision to promulgate new regulations to address such risk. As a result of such regulations, our ability to sell certain products may be curtailed and customers may avoid purchasing some products in favor of less regulated, less hazardous or less costly alternatives. It may be impractical for us to continue manufacturing heavily regulated products, and we may incur costs to shut down or transition such operations to alternative products. Additionally, the nature, stringency and timing of any future regulations or changes in regulations are uncertain.

In addition, increasingly stringent regulation of human exposure to ethylene oxide by regulatory authorities in the United States could require material expenditures or changes in our manufacturing operations. We use ethylene oxide at our Winder, Georgia and Millsdale, Illinois facilities. We use ethylene oxide in a closed loop process to manufacture surfactants that are used in products such as laundry detergents. The Company does not manufacture ethylene oxide, nor does it use ethylene oxide as a fumigant. Ethylene oxide is listed as a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act, as amended, emissions of which are regulated by the USEPA and other regulatory authorities. In 2020, Georgia adopted a law requiring any spill or release of ethylene oxide that occurs outside of normal operations to be reported to the state within 24 hours. Georgia and Illinois legislators have proposed legislation that would impose additional restrictions on the use of ethylene oxide. The USEPA is considering new standards for ethylene oxide emissions.  While our production facilities have not yet been materially affected by changes in ethylene oxide regulation, any additional regulatory restrictions on the use or emission of ethylene oxide by facilities could impair our ability to manufacturer certain products in affected locations, including at our Winder, Georgia and Millsdale, Illinois facilities.

Compliance with environmental laws could restrict the Company’s ability to expand its facilities or require the Company to modify its facilities and processes or acquire additional costly pollution control equipment, incur other significant expenses, or expose the Company to greater liability associated with its production processes and products. The Company has incurred and will continue to incur capital expenditures and operating costs in complying with these laws and regulations, as our operations currently use, and have historically used, hazardous materials and generate, and have historically generated, quantities of hazardous waste. Some existing environmental laws and regulations impose liability and responsibility on present and former owners, operators or users of facilities and sites for contamination at those locations without regard to causation or knowledge of contamination. Certain of our sites have an extended history of industrial use, which may expose us to liability. We are subject to regulatory oversight and investigation, remediation, and monitoring obligations at certain current and former U.S. Superfund sites, as well as third-party disposal sites, under federal laws and their state and local analogues, including the RCRA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and CERCLA, as well

11


as analogous foreign laws. See Item 3, Legal Proceedings, in this Form 10-K and Note 16, Contingencies, in the Notes to the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for a summary of current significant environmental proceedings related to certain environmental sites. In the event that new contamination is discovered, including at facilities we may acquire in the future, the Company may become subject to additional obligations. The costs and liabilities associated with these issues may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company is also subject to numerous federal, state, local and foreign laws that regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution and labeling of many of the Company’s products, including some of the Company’s disinfecting, sanitizing and antimicrobial products. Some of these laws require the Company to have operating permits for the Company’s production facilities, warehouse facilities and operations. Various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations also require the Company to register the Company’s products and to comply with specified requirements with respect to those products, such as FIFRA, the EU Biocidal Products Regulation and Mexico’s General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection. Additionally, those requirements, and enforcement of those requirements, may become more stringent in the future. The ultimate cost of compliance with any such requirements could be material.

Although it is our policy to comply with such laws and regulations, it is possible that we have not been or may not be at all times in material compliance with all of those requirements. If the Company has failed to comply or fails to comply in the future with any of these laws and regulations, including permitting and licensing requirements, it may be liable for damages and the costs of remedial actions in excess of the Company’s recorded liabilities, and may also be subject to fines, injunctions or criminal sanctions or to revocation, non-renewal or modification of the Company’s operating permits and revocation of the Company’s product registrations. Any such revocation, modification or non-renewal may require the Company to cease or limit the manufacture and sale of its products at one or more of the Company’s facilities, which may limit or prevent the Company’s ability to meet product demand or build new facilities and may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Any such revocation, non-renewal or modification may also result in an event of default under the indenture for the Company’s notes or under the Company’s credit facilities, which, if not cured or waived, may result in the acceleration of all the Company’s indebtedness.

In addition to the costs of complying with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, the Company has incurred and may incur in the future costs defending against environmental litigation and/or investigations brought by government agencies and private parties, including administrative proceedings. The Company is, and may be in the future, a defendant in lawsuits brought by parties alleging environmental damage, personal injury or property damage. A significant judgment or settlement against the Company, to the extent not covered by existing insurance policies, could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Although the Company has insurance policies that may cover some of these potential losses, there is always uncertainty as to whether such insurance may be sufficient to cover such losses or available at all to the Company based on case-specific factors and the specific provisions of the Company’s insurance policies.

The potential cost to the Company relating to environmental, health and safety and product registration matters is uncertain due to factors such as the complexity and evolving nature of laws and regulations relating to the environment, health and safety and product registration, including those outside of the United States. Environmental and product registration laws and regulations may also become more stringent over time, imposing greater compliance costs and increasing risks and penalties associated with any violation, as well as restricting or prohibiting the sale of existing or new products, which may also negatively impact the Company’s operating results. For example, in 2019 the area around Chicago, Illinois was designated as a “serious nonattainment” zone for air emissions, which may limit activities or increase costs at the Company’s Millsdale, Illinois facility. Without limiting the foregoing, these laws or regulations may also restrict or prohibit the use of non-renewable or carbon-based substances, or impose fees or penalties for the use of these substances. Accordingly, the Company may become subject to additional liabilities and increased operating costs in the future under these laws and regulations. The impact of any such changes, which are unknown at this time, may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Various liability claims could materially and adversely affect the Company’s financial position, operating results and cash flows.

The Company may be required to pay for losses or injuries purportedly caused by its products. The Company faces an inherent exposure to various types of claims including general liability, product liability, product recall, toxic tort and environmental, among others, if its products, or the end products that are manufactured with the Company’s products, result in property damage, injury or death. In addition, because the Company conducts business in multiple jurisdictions, the Company also faces an inherent exposure to other general claims based on its operations in those jurisdictions and the laws of those jurisdictions, including but not limited to claims arising from its relationship with employees, distributors, agents and customers, and other parties with whom it has a business relationship, directly or indirectly. Many of these claims may be made against the Company even if there is no evidence of a loss from that claim, and these claims may be made by individual persons, groups of persons, or groups of plaintiffs in a class action. Defending these claims could result in significant legal expenses relating to defense costs and/or damage awards and diversion of management’s

12


time and the Company’s resources. Any claim brought against the Company could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company’s failure to comply with the anti-corruption laws of the United States and various international jurisdictions could negatively impact its reputation and results of operations.

Doing business on a worldwide basis requires the Company to comply with anti-corruption laws and regulations imposed by governments around the world with jurisdiction over our operations, which may include the FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act), as well as the laws of the countries where the Company does business. These laws and regulations can apply to companies and individual directors, officers, employees and agents, and may restrict the Company’s operations, trade practices, investment decisions and partnering activities. Where they apply, the FCPA and the Bribery Act prohibit, among other things, the Company and its officers, directors, employees and business partners, including joint venture partners and agents acting on the Company’s behalf, from corruptly offering, promising, authorizing or providing anything of value to “foreign officials” for the purposes of influencing official decisions or obtaining or retaining business or otherwise obtaining favorable treatment. The Bribery Act also prohibits non-governmental “commercial” bribery and accepting bribes. Part of the Company’s business may involve dealings with governments and state-owned business enterprises, the employees and representatives of which may be considered “foreign officials” for purposes of the FCPA and the Bribery Act. The Company is also subject to the jurisdiction of various governments and regulatory agencies around the world, which may bring Company personnel and agents into contact with “foreign officials” responsible for issuing or renewing permits, licenses, or approvals or for enforcing other governmental regulations. The Company’s global operations, including in countries with high levels of perceived corruption, expose it to the risk of violating, or being accused of violating, anti-corruption laws. Any failure on the part of the Company to successfully comply with these laws and regulations may expose the Company to reputational harm as well as significant sanctions, including criminal fines, imprisonment of its employees or representatives, civil penalties, disgorgement of profits, injunctions and debarment from government contracts, as well as other remedial measures. Investigations of alleged violations can be expensive and disruptive. Compliance with these laws can increase the cost of doing business globally.  The Company maintains policies and procedures designed to assist the Company and its subsidiaries in complying with applicable anti-corruption laws. However, there can be no guarantee that these policies and procedures will effectively prevent violations by Company employees or representatives for which the Company may be held responsible, and any such violation could materially and adversely affect the Company’s reputation, as well as its business, financial position and results of operations.

International Operations Risks

The Company’s results of operations may be adversely affected by international business risks, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates, legal restrictions and taxes.

The Company has substantial operations outside the United States.  In the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company’s sales outside of the United States constituted approximately 40 percent of the Company’s net sales.  In addition to the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K that are common to both the Company’s U.S. and non-U.S. operations, the Company faces, and will continue to face, risks related to the Company’s foreign operations, including:

 

variability of intellectual property laws outside the United States, which may impact enforceability and consistency of protection of intellectual property assets;

 

high levels of inflation;

 

fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, which may affect product demand and may adversely affect the profitability in U.S. dollars of products and services the Company provides in international markets where payment for the Company’s products and services is made in the local currency;

 

political, economic, financial and market conditions, which may be unstable;

 

changes in labor conditions and difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;

 

corruption by government officials or other third parties or other adverse government actions;

 

differing economic cycles and adverse economic conditions;

 

trade and currency restrictions, including tariffs and currency exchange controls imposed by the United States and foreign countries;

 

changes in foreign laws and tax rates or U.S. laws and tax rates with respect to foreign income, which may unexpectedly increase the rate at which the Company’s income is taxed, impose new and additional taxes on remittances, repatriation or other payments by the Company’s subsidiaries, or cause the loss of previously recorded tax benefits;

 

greater difficulty enforcing contracts and collecting accounts receivable;

13


 

 

enforceability and compliance with U.S. and foreign laws affecting operations outside of the United States, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (and foreign equivalents), export controls and regulations administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control; and

 

evolving laws and regulations over chemicals and chemical production and transportation that could limit the Company’s ability to sell products in certain markets (for example, the EU REACH regulation) and changing laws related to or the modification or non-renewal of operating permits and licenses that could result in material costs relating to regulatory compliance, liabilities, litigation proceedings, or other impacts, such as restrictions or prohibitions on our products.

The actual occurrence of any or all of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows in the future.

The international scope of the Company’s operations and corporate structure may expose the Company to potentially adverse tax consequences.

The Company is subject to taxation in and to the tax laws and regulations of multiple jurisdictions as a result of the international scope of its operations and corporate structure. The Company is also subject to intercompany pricing laws, including those relating to the flow of funds between its entities pursuant to, for example, purchase agreements, licensing agreements or other arrangements. Adverse developments in these laws or regulations, or any change in position regarding the application, administration or interpretation of these laws or regulations in any applicable jurisdiction could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, the tax authorities in any applicable jurisdiction may disagree with the positions the Company has taken or intends to take regarding the tax treatment or characterization of any of the Company’s transactions, including the tax treatment or characterization of the Company’s indebtedness. If any applicable tax authorities were to successfully challenge the tax treatment or characterization of any of the Company’s transactions, it could result in the disallowance of deductions, the imposition of withholding taxes on internal deemed transfers or other consequences that could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could affect Company financial results.

The Company is also exposed to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. The Company’s results of operations are reported in U.S. dollars. However, outside the United Sates, the Company’s sales and costs are denominated in a variety of currencies including the European euro, British pound, Canadian dollar, Mexican peso, Colombian peso, Philippine peso, Brazilian real, Polish zloty, and Chinese RMB. The Company translates its local currency financial results into U.S. dollars based on average exchange rates prevailing during the reporting period or the exchange rate at the end of that period. During times of a strengthening U.S. dollar, the Company’s reported international sales and earnings may be reduced because the local currency may translate into fewer U.S. dollars. Fluctuations in exchange rates may materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

In all jurisdictions in which the Company operates, the Company is also subject to laws and regulations that govern foreign investment, foreign trade and currency exchange transactions. These laws and regulations may limit the Company’s ability to repatriate cash as dividends or otherwise to the United States or to efficiently allocate cash to support strategic initiatives, and may limit the Company’s ability to convert foreign currency cash flows into U.S. dollars. A weakening of the currencies in which the Company generates sales relative to the foreign currencies in which the Company’s costs are denominated may lower the Company’s operating profits and cash flows.

Financial Risks

The Company could be adversely affected by downgrades to its credit ratings or disruptions in its ability to access well-functioning credit markets.

Historically, the Company has relied on the debt capital markets to fund portions of its capital investments and other corporate initiatives, as well as access to bank credit facilities as part of its overall financing strategy, including working capital management strategy. The Company’s continued access to these markets, and the terms of such access, depend on multiple factors including the condition of debt capital markets, the Company’s operating performance, and its credit ratings. These ratings are based on a number of factors, which include rating agencies’ assessment of the Company’s financial strength and outlook. There can be no assurance that any particular rating assigned to the Company will remain in effect for any given period of time or that a rating will not be changed or withdrawn by a rating agency, if in that rating agency’s judgment, future circumstances relating to the basis of the rating so warrant. Incurrence of additional debt by the Company could adversely affect its credit ratings. The Company depends on banks and other financial institutions to provide credit to its business and perform under the Company’s agreements with them. Defaults by one or more of these counterparties on their obligations to the Company could materially and adversely affect it. Any downgrade of the

14


Company’s credit ratings could materially and adversely affect its cost of funds, liquidity, competitive position and access to credit markets and increase the cost of and counterparty risks associated with existing facilities, which could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company has a significant amount of indebtedness and may incur additional indebtedness, or need to refinance existing indebtedness, in the future, which may adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company has a significant amount of indebtedness and may incur additional indebtedness in the future.  As of December 31, 2020, the Company had $198.7 million of debt on its balance sheet consisting of unsecured promissory notes with maturities ranging from 2021 until 2027.  In addition, the Company is party to a $350.0 million revolving credit facility; as of December 31, 2020, the Company had outstanding letters of credit totaling $6.2 million under the facility and no borrowings, with $343.8 million remaining available for future borrowings.

Certain of the Company’s foreign subsidiaries periodically maintain bank term loans and short-term bank lines of credit in their respective countries to meet working capital requirements as well as to fund capital expenditure programs and acquisitions. As of December 31, 2020, the Company’s foreign subsidiaries did not have any outstanding debt.

The Company’s current indebtedness and any additional indebtedness incurred in the future may materially and adversely affect its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.  For example, such indebtedness could:

 

require the Company to dedicate a substantial portion of cash flow from operations to pay principal and interest on the Company’s debt, which would reduce funds available to fund future working capital, capital expenditures and other general operating requirements;  

 

limit the Company’s ability to borrow funds that may be needed to operate and expand its business;

 

limit the Company’s flexibility in planning for or reacting to changes in the Company’s business and the industries in which the Company operates;

 

increase the Company’s vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions or a downturn in the Company’s business; and

 

place the Company at a competitive disadvantage compared to its competitors that have less debt.

The Company’s debt agreements contain customary covenants and other provisions that, among other things, require maintenance of certain financial ratios and place limitations on additional debt, investments and payment of dividends.  The Company’s ability to comply with these provisions may be affected by events beyond our control.  Failure to comply with these provisions could require repayment of outstanding debt or lead to a debt restructuring that could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

In addition, an increase in interest rates could limit the Company’s ability to incur additional debt to fund the Company’s strategic plans or to refinance maturing debt without incurring significant additional costs, and could make borrowings under the Company’s revolving credit facility or other floating rate debt materially more expensive. Further, any future disruptions in the credit and financial markets may reduce the availability of debt financing or refinancing alternatives and increase the costs associated with such financing activities.  If the Company is unable to secure financing when needed on satisfactory terms, or at all, its business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

General Risks

The Company relies extensively on information technology (IT) systems to conduct its business. Interruption of, damage to or compromise of the Company’s IT systems and failure to maintain the integrity of customer, colleague or Company data could harm the Company’s reputation and have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company relies on IT systems in its operations, including production, supply chain, research and development, finance, human resource and regulatory functions. The Company’s ability to effectively manage its business depends on the security, reliability and adequacy of these systems.  IT system failures due to events including but not limited to network disruptions, programming errors, computer viruses and security breaches (e.g., cyber-attacks) could impact production activities, impede shipment of products, cause delays or cancellations of customer orders, or hamper the processing of transactions or reporting of financial results.  These or similar occurrences, whether accidental or intentional, could result in theft, unauthorized use or publication of our intellectual property or  confidential business information of our employees, customers, suppliers or other third parties, which could harm our reputation and

15


competitive position, reduce the value of our investments in research and development and other strategic initiatives, result in a loss of business, as well as remedial and other costs, fines, investigations, enforcement actions or lawsuits or otherwise materially and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company continues to develop and enhance controls and security measures designed to protect against the risk of theft, loss or fraudulent or unlawful use of customer, supplier, third party, employee or Company data, and it maintains an ongoing process to re-evaluate the adequacy of its controls and measures. The Company may also be required to expend additional resources to continue to enhance its information privacy and security measures and/or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities. The Company maintains what it believes to be adequate and collectible insurance in the event of the theft, loss, fraudulent or unlawful use of customer, supplier, third party, employee or Company data, but any such occurrences could result in costs that may not be covered or may be in excess of any available insurance that the Company may have procured. While the Company has a comprehensive program in place for continuously reviewing, maintaining, testing and upgrading its IT systems and security, there can be no assurance that such efforts will prevent breakdowns of or breaches in Company IT systems that could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

The Company’s success depends on its executive management and other key personnel.

The Company’s future success depends to a significant degree on the skills, experience and efforts of its executive management and other key personnel and their ability to provide the Company with uninterrupted leadership and direction. The availability of highly qualified talent is limited and the competition for talent is robust; as a result, the Company may not be able to recruit and retain the personnel it needs if it were to lose an existing member of executive management or other key personnel. The Company’s future success will depend on its ability to have adequate succession plans in place and to attract, retain and develop qualified personnel. A failure to efficiently replace members of executive management and other key personnel and to attract, retain and develop new qualified personnel could have a material and adverse effect on the Company’s business financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None

 

Item 2.  Properties

The following are the Company’s principal physical properties. Unless otherwise noted, the listed properties are owned by the Company. Management believes that the facilities are suitable and adequate for the Company’s current operations. 

 

 

Name of Facility

Location

Site Size

Segment

1.

Millsdale

Millsdale (Joliet), Illinois

492 acres

Surfactants/Polymers

2.

Winder

Winder,

Georgia

202 acres

Surfactants

3.

Maywood

Maywood,

New Jersey

19 acres

Surfactants /

Specialty Products

4.

Stepan France

Voreppe, France

20 acres

Surfactants

5.

Stepan Ecatepec

Ecatepec, Mexico

34 acres

Surfactants

6.

Stepan China

Nanjing, China (Nanjing Chemical Industrial Park)

13 acres (right of use arrangement)

Polymers

7.

Stepan Brazil

Vespasiano, Minas Gerais, Brazil

27 acres

Surfactants

8.

Company Headquarters and Central Research Laboratories

Northfield,

Illinois

8 acres

N/A

9.

Company Corporate Supply Chain, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and Legal Functions

Northbrook,

Illinois

3.25 acres              

N/A

10.

Future Company Headquarters

Northbrook, Illinois

1.72 acres (leased)

N/A

 

 

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There are a variety of legal proceedings pending or threatened against the Company that occur in the normal course of the Company’s business, the majority of which relate to environmental assessment, protection and remediation matters.  Some of these proceedings may result in fines, penalties, judgments or costs being assessed against the Company at some future time.  The Company’s operations are subject to extensive local, state and federal legislation and regulations, including CERCLA and the Superfund amendments of 1986 (Superfund) as well as comparable regulations applicable to the Company’s foreign locations.  Over the years, the Company has received requests for information related to, or has been named by government authorities as a potentially responsible party (PRP) at, a number of sites where cleanup costs have been or may be incurred by the Company under CERCLA and similar state statutes.  In addition, damages are being claimed against the Company in general liability actions for alleged personal injury or property damage in the case of some disposal and plant sites.  The Company believes that it has made adequate provisions for the costs it is likely to incur with respect to these sites and claims. While the Company is unable to predict the outcome of these matters, it does not believe, based upon current available facts, that the ultimate resolution of any of these matters will have a material effect on its overall financial position. The Company’s material legal proceedings are described below:

Maywood, New Jersey Site

The Company’s property in Maywood, New Jersey and property formerly owned by the Company adjacent to its current site and other nearby properties (collectively, the Maywood site) were listed on the National Priorities List in September 1993 pursuant to the provisions of CERCLA because of alleged chemical contamination.  Pursuant to (i) a September 21, 1987 Administrative Order on Consent entered into between the USEPA and the Company for property formerly owned by the Company at the Maywood site and (ii) the issuance of an order on November 12, 2004 by the USEPA to the Company for property currently owned by the Company at the Maywood site, the Company has completed various remedial investigation feasibility studies (RI/FS), and on September 24, 2014, USEPA issued its Record of Decision (ROD) for chemically-contaminated soil at the Maywood site, which requires Stepan to perform remedial cleanup of the soil and buried waste. The USEPA has not yet issued a ROD for chemically-contaminated groundwater for the Maywood site.  Based on the most current information available, the Company believes its recorded liability is reasonable having considered the range of estimated costs of remediation for the Maywood site. The estimate of the cost of remediation for the Maywood site could change as the Company continues to hold discussions with USEPA, as the design of the remedial action is finalized, if a groundwater ROD is issued or if other PRPs are identified. The ultimate amount for which the Company is liable could differ materially from the Company’s current recorded liability.

In April 2015, the Company entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Administrative Order on Consent with USEPA, which requires payment of certain costs and performance of certain investigative and design work for chemically-contaminated soil.

In addition, under the terms of a settlement agreement reached on November 12, 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Company agreed to fulfill the terms of a Cooperative Agreement reached in 1985 under which the United States has taken title to and is responsible for the removal of radioactive waste at the Maywood site, including past and future remediation costs incurred by the United States.  As such, the Company recorded no liability related to this settlement agreement.

D’Imperio Property Site

During the mid-1970’s, Jerome Lightman and the Lightman Drum Company disposed of hazardous substances generated by the Company at several sites in New Jersey, including the D’Imperio Property Superfund Site located in New Jersey (the D’Imperio site).  The Company was named as a PRP in an October 2, 1998 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey that involved the D’Imperio site.  In 2019, the PRPs were provided with updated remediation cost estimates by the PRP group technical consultant and project manager, which the Company considered in its determination of its range of estimated possible losses and liability balance.  The changes in range of possible losses and liability balance related to such updated remediation cost estimates were immaterial. Remediation work continues at the D’Imperio site. Based on current information, the Company believes that its recorded liability is reasonable having considered the range of estimated costs of remediation for the D’Imperio site.  Depending on the ultimate cost of the remediation at this site, the amount for which the Company is liable could differ materially from the current estimates.

Wilmington Site

The Company is currently contractually obligated to contribute to the environmental response costs associated with the Company’s formerly-owned site in Wilmington, Massachusetts (the Wilmington site).  Remediation at this site is being managed by its current owner, to whom the Company sold the property in 1980.  Under the Company’s October 1, 1993 agreement with the current owner of the Wilmington site, once total site remediation costs exceed certain levels, the Company is obligated to contribute up to five percent of future response costs associated with this site with no limitation on the ultimate amount of the Company’s contributions. The Company had paid the current owner $2.97 million for the Company’s portion of environmental response costs at

17


the Wilmington site through December 31, 2020.  The Company has recorded a liability for its portion of the estimated remediation costs for the site.  Depending on the ultimate cost of the remediation at this site, the amount for which the Company is liable could differ materially from the current estimates.

The Company and other prior owners of the Wilmington site also entered into an agreement in April 2004 waiving certain statute of limitations defenses for claims that may be filed by the Town of Wilmington, Massachusetts, in connection with this site.  While the Company has denied any liability for any such claims, the Company agreed to this waiver while the parties continue to discuss the resolution of any potential claim which may be filed.

Other U.S. Sites

Through the regular environmental monitoring of its plant production sites, the Company discovered levels of chemical contamination that were above thresholds allowed by law at its Millsdale, Illinois and Fieldsboro, New Jersey plants. The Company voluntarily reported its results to the applicable state environmental agencies. As a result, the Company is required to perform self-remediation of the affected areas.  Based on current information, the Company believes that its recorded liability for the remediation of the affected areas is appropriate based on an estimate of expected costs. However, actual costs could differ materially from current estimates.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not Applicable.

 

 

 

18


 

PART II

 

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

(a)

The Company’s common stock is listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SCL.   

As of January 31, 2021, there were 1,737 holders of record of the Company’s common stock. This number does not include beneficial owners whose shares are held by nominees in street name.

(b)

Below is a summary by month of shares purchases by the Company during the fourth quarter of 2020:

 

Period

 

Total Number of

Shares Purchased

 

 

Average Price

Paid per Share

 

 

Total Number of Shares

Purchased as Part of

Publicly Announced

Plans or Programs (1)

 

 

Maximum Number

of Shares that May

Yet Be Purchased

Under the Plans

or Programs (1)

 

October

 

 

32

 

(2)

$

118.03

 

 

 

 

 

 

189,050

 

November

 

 

18,175

 

(2)

$

118.71

 

 

 

 

 

 

189,050

 

December

 

 

13,341

 

(2)

$

113.90

 

 

 

13,176

 

(3)

 

175,874

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

31,548

 

 

$

116.68

 

 

 

13,176

 

 

 

175,874

 

 

 

(1)

On February 19, 2013, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized the Company to repurchase up to 1,000,000 shares of its outstanding common stock. Under this program, which does not have an expiration date, repurchases may be made from time to time through open market or privately negotiated transactions, subject to applicable laws.

 

 

(2)

Includes shares of Company common stock tendered by employees to settle statutory withholding taxes related to the exercise of stock appreciation rights (SARs).

 

 

(3)

Consists of shares of Company common stock purchased on the open market.

 

19


 

(c)

Stock Performance Graph

The following stock performance graph compares the yearly change since December 31, 2015, in cumulative return on the common stock of the Company on a dividend reinvested basis to the Dow Jones Chemical Industry Index and the Russell 2000 Index. The Dow Jones Chemical Industry Index is a market-capitalization weighted grouping of 35 chemical companies, including major manufacturers of both basic and specialty products. The Company is not included in the Dow Jones Chemical Industry Index. The Russell 2000 Index is a market-capitalization weighted grouping of 2,000 small to medium sized companies in a broad range of industries. The Company has been included in the Russell 2000 Index since 1992. The graph assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2015 and shows the cumulative total return as of each December 31 thereafter.

 

Item 6. (Removed and Reserved)

 

 

20


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following is management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A) of certain significant factors that have affected the Company’s financial condition and results of operations during the annual periods included in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

Overview

The Company produces and sells intermediate chemicals that are used in a wide variety of applications worldwide. The overall business is comprised of three reportable segments:

Surfactants - Surfactants, which accounted for 72 percent of the Company’s consolidated net sales in 2020, are principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning and disinfection products such as detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, floors and walls, as well as shampoos and body washes. Other applications include fabric softeners, germicidal quaternary compounds, disinfectants, lubricating ingredients, emulsifiers for spreading agricultural products and industrial applications such as latex systems, plastics and composites. Surfactants are manufactured at five sites in the United States, two European sites (United Kingdom and France), five Latin American sites (one site in Colombia and two sites in each of Brazil and Mexico) and two Asian sites (Philippines and Singapore).  Recent significant Surfactants events include:  

 

On January 19, 2020, the Company experienced a power disruption that impacted its Millsdale, Illinois facility. This power outage, combined with below freezing temperatures, led to significant production and operational challenges that impacted both Surfactants and Polymers produced at the site. The Millsdale facility operated on a partial basis and used existing inventories to serve the Company’s customers.  However, on February 17, 2020, power outage-related operational issues impacted the Millsdale site’s waste water treatment plant (WWTP) and forced the Company to stop production at the site.  As a result, the Company declared force majeure for the supply of phthalic anhydride (Polymers) and certain surfactant product lines.  All production lines were fully operational prior to the end of the first quarter of 2020. These operational issues negatively impacted the Company’s 2020 earnings.  The Company finalized an insurance settlement related to this power outage during 2020 and recognized $18.0 million of pre-tax insurance recovery.  This insurance recovery was recognized as a reduction of expenses within cost of sales. The Surfactant and Polymer segments recognized $5.2 million and $12.8 million, respectively, of the insurance settlement.  All expenses, business interruptions and insurance recoveries associated with the Millsdale power outage were recorded in the full year 2020.

 

In September 2020 the Company, through its subsidiaries in Mexico, acquired Clariant (Mexico) S.A. de C.V.’s (Clariant) anionic surfactant business located in Santa Clara, Mexico. The acquisition did not include the purchase of a manufacturing site. The business acquired is being integrated into the Company’s two existing manufacturing sites in Mexico (Matamoros and Ecatepec). This acquisition supports the Company’s growth strategy in Latin America and the Company believes the acquisition will enhance its ability to support customer growth in the Mexican consumer and functional surfactant markets (see Note 20, Acquisitions, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).

 

In March 2020, the Company acquired certain assets of Logos Technologies LLC's NatSurFact® business, a rhamnolipid-based line of bio-surfactants derived from renewable sources. These bio-surfactants offer synergies in several strategic end use markets including oilfield, agriculture, personal care, and household, industrial and institutional.  The Company is focusing efforts to further develop, integrate and commercialize these unique surfactants moving forward.  The Company believes the rhamnolipid technology will further advance the growth and sustainability aspirations of both the Company and its customers (see Note 20, Acquisitions, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).

 

In February 2021, the Company acquired a fermentation plant, located in Lake Providence, Louisiana.  The Company believes this plant complements the rhamnolipid-based bio-surfactant technology the Company acquired from Logos Technologies in March 2020.  Fermentation is a new platform technology for the Company and the Company is focusing efforts to further develop, integrate, produce and commercialize these unique surfactants moving forward.  Bio-surfactants, produced via fermentation, are attractive due to their biodegradability, low toxicity, and in some cases, unique antimicrobial properties.  These bio-surfactants offer synergies in several strategic end use markets including oilfield, agriculture, personal care and household, industrial and institutional.  The acquisition of this industrial scale fermentation plant represents the latest step in the Company’s bio-surfactant commercialization efforts (see Note 26, Subsequent Events, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).  

21


 

In December 2019, the Company acquired an oilfield demulsifier product line. The Company believes this acquisition will accelerate its strategy to diversify into additional application segments within the oilfield end markets. The acquired business did not impact the Company’s 2019 financial results and had a minimal impact on 2020 financial results (see Note 20, Acquisitions, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).

 

During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company shut down Surfactant operations at its plant site in Germany.  The Company ceased Surfactant production at this site to further reduce its fixed cost base, refocus Surfactant resources on higher margin end markets and allow for select assets to be repurposed to support future polyol growth.  Decommissioning costs associated with the shutdown were incurred in 2019 and during the first half of 2020 (see Note 22, Business Restructuring, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).

Polymers - Polymers, which accounted for 24 percent of consolidated net sales in 2020, include polyurethane polyols, polyester resins and phthalic anhydride.  Polyurethane polyols are used in the manufacture of rigid foam for thermal insulation in the construction industry and are also a base raw material for coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (collectively, CASE products). Powdered polyester resins are used in coating applications.  CASE and powdered polyester resins are collectively referred to as specialty polyols. Phthalic anhydride is used in unsaturated polyester resins, alkyd resins and plasticizers for applications in construction materials and components of automotive, boating and other consumer products. In addition, the Company uses phthalic anhydride internally in the production of polyols.  In the United States, polyurethane polyols and phthalic anhydride are manufactured at the Company’s Millsdale, Illinois, site, and specialty polyols are manufactured at the Company’s Columbus, Georgia, site.  In Europe, polyurethane polyols are manufactured by the Company’s subsidiary in Germany, and specialty polyols are manufactured by the Company’s Poland subsidiary. In China, polyurethane polyols and specialty polyols are manufactured at the Company’s Nanjing, China, plant.  Additional manufacturing sites were acquired in 2021 as part of the INVISTA polyol acquisition described below.  Recent significant Polymers events include:

 

The operational issues at the Company’s Millsdale, Illinois facility, described in the Surfactants significant events paragraph above, negatively impacted Polymers earnings during the year.  The Polymers segment recognized a $12.8 million insurance recovery related to the Millsdale incident in 2020 (see above).

 

In January 2021, the Company purchased INVISTA’s aromatic polyester polyol business and associated assets.  Included in the transaction were two manufacturing sites, one in Wilmington, North Carolina and the other in Vlissingen, Netherlands along with intellectual property, customer relationships, inventory and working capital.  This acquisition expands the Company’s manufacturing capabilities in both the United States and Europe and enhances the Company’s business continuity capabilities for the market.  The Company believes that INVISTA’s available spare capacity, combined with debottlenecking opportunities in both plants, will allow Stepan to support future market growth in a capital efficient way (see Note 26, Subsequent Events, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).

Specialty Products – Specialty Products, which accounted for four percent of consolidated net sales in 2020, include flavors, emulsifiers, and solubilizers used in food, flavoring, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical applications. Specialty products are primarily manufactured at the Company’s Maywood, New Jersey, site and, in some instances, by third-party contractors.  Recent significant events include:

 

During 2019, the Company restructured its Specialty Products office in the Netherlands and eliminated positions from the site’s supply chain, quality control and research and development areas.  This restructuring was undertaken to better align the number of personnel with current business requirements and reduce costs at the site (see Note 22, Business Restructuring, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details).

2020 Acquisitions

Logos Technologies

On March 13, 2020, the Company acquired certain assets of Logos Technologies LLC's NatSurFact® business, a rhamnolipid-based line of bio-surfactants derived from renewable sources. These bio-surfactants offer synergies in several strategic end use markets including oilfield, agriculture, personal care and household, industrial and institutional. The acquisition was accounted for as an asset acquisition. The purchase price of the acquisition was $2,040,000 and was paid with cash on hand. All assets acquired are included in the Company’s Surfactants segment. The assets acquired were primarily intangibles, including trademarks and know-how ($1,392,000) and patents ($464,000). Additionally, $184,000 of laboratory equipment was acquired (see Note 20, Acquisitions, for additional details).

Clariant (Mexico)

22


On September 17, 2020 the Company, through its subsidiaries in Mexico, acquired Clariant’s anionic surfactant business located in Santa Clara, Mexico.  The acquisition did not include the purchase of a manufacturing site.  The business acquired is being integrated into the Company’s two existing manufacturing sites in Mexico (Matamoros and Ecatepec).  The Company believes the purchase of Clariant’s surfactants business will enhance its ability to support customer growth in consumer and functional products end markets within Mexico.  The acquisition was accounted for as a business combination, and accordingly, the assets acquired were measured and recorded at their estimated fair values.  The purchase price of the acquisition was $14,000,000 plus associated value-added taxes (VAT).  As of December 31, 2020, $13,519,000, inclusive of $308,000 net VAT, had been paid with cash on hand.  All assets acquired are included in the Company’s Surfactants segment.  The assets acquired as of December 31, 2020 were intangibles, including trademarks and know-how ($1,300,000), customer lists ($8,000,000), a non-compete agreement ($300,000) and goodwill ($4,225,000).  See Note 20, Acquisitions, of the notes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements (included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K) for additional details.

Deferred Compensation Plans

The accounting for the Company’s deferred compensation plans can cause period-to-period fluctuations in Company expenses and profits. Compensation expense results when the value of Company common stock and mutual fund investment assets held for the plans increase, and compensation income results when the value of Company common stock and mutual fund investment assets decline. The pretax effect of all deferred compensation-related activities (including realized and unrealized gains and losses on the mutual fund assets held to fund the deferred compensation obligations) and the income statement line items in which the effects of the activities were recorded are displayed in the following tables:

 

 

 

Income (Expense)

For the Year

Ended December 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In millions)

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

Change

 

 

Deferred Compensation (Operating expenses)

 

$

(10.0

)

 

$

(15.1

)

 

$

5.1

 

(1)

Investment Income (Other, net)

 

 

1.6

 

 

 

0.9

 

 

 

0.7

 

 

Realized/Unrealized Gains (Losses) on Investments

   (Other, net)

 

 

3.1

 

 

 

3.8

 

 

 

(0.7

)

 

Pretax Income Effect

 

$

(5.3

)

 

$

(10.4

)

 

$

5.1

 

 

 

 

 

Income (Expense)

For the Year

Ended December 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In millions)

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

Change

 

 

Deferred Compensation (Operating expenses)

 

$

(15.1

)

 

$

2.3

 

 

$

(17.4

) (1)

 

Investment Income (Other, net)

 

 

0.9

 

 

 

1.5

 

 

 

(0.6

)

 

Realized/Unrealized Gains on Investments

   (Other, net)

 

 

3.8

 

 

 

(2.7

)

 

 

6.5

 

 

Pretax Income Effect

 

$

(10.4

)

 

$

1.1

 

 

$

(11.5

)

 

 

(1)

See the Segment Results – Corporate Expenses sections of this MD&A for details regarding the period-over-period changes in deferred compensation.

 

Below are the year-end Company common stock market prices used in the computation of deferred compensation income and expense:

 

 

December 31

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

Company Stock Price

 

$

119.32

 

 

$

102.44

 

 

$

74.00

 

 

$

78.97

 

23


 

Effects of Foreign Currency Translation

The Company’s foreign subsidiaries transact business and report financial results in their respective local currencies. As a result, foreign subsidiary income statements are translated into U.S. dollars at average foreign exchange rates appropriate for the reporting period. Because foreign exchange rates fluctuate against the U.S. dollar over time, foreign currency translation affects year-over-year comparisons of financial statement items (i.e., because foreign exchange rates fluctuate, similar year-to-year local currency results for a foreign subsidiary may translate into different U.S. dollar results). The following tables present the effects that foreign currency translation had on the year-over-year changes in consolidated net sales and various income line items for 2020 compared to 2019 and 2019 compared to 2018:

 

 

 

For the Year Ended

December 31

 

 

Increase

 

 

(Decrease) Due

to Foreign Currency

 

(In millions)

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation

 

Net Sales

 

$

1,869.8

 

 

$

1,858.7

 

 

$

11.1

 

 

$

(45.7

)

Gross Profit

 

 

383.6

 

 

 

339.7

 

 

 

43.9

 

 

 

(10.2

)

Operating Income

 

 

171.5

 

 

 

127.3

 

 

 

44.2

 

 

 

(7.7

)

Pretax Income

 

 

171.1

 

 

 

125.9

 

 

 

45.2

 

 

 

(7.6

)

 

 

 

For the Year Ended

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Decrease) Due

 

 

 

December 31

 

 

Increase

 

 

to Foreign Currency

 

(In millions)

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

(Decrease)

 

 

Translation

 

Net Sales

 

$

1,858.7

 

 

$

1,993.9

 

 

 

(135.2

)

 

$

(37.3

)

Gross Profit

 

$

339.7

 

 

$

339.3

 

 

 

0.4