Segment Profile

The Surface Technologies segment comprises the Catalysts and Coatings divisions. The segment bundles the chemical surface solution businesses. Its portfolio includes coatings, surface treatments, catalysts and battery materials for the automotive and chemical industries. The aim is to drive organic growth by leveraging our portfolio of technologies and establishing BASF as a leading and innovative solution provider in fields such as battery materials.



Automotive and process catalysts, battery materials, precious metal trading, recycling


Coatings solutions, surface treatments, decorative paints


Surface Technologies – Sales (pie chart)
Factors influencing sales
Surface Technologies – Factors influencing sales (bar chart)
Income from operations before special items

Million €

Surface Technologies – Income from operations before special items (bar chart)

How we create value – an example

Eco-friendly thin-film technology for metal pretreatment

Value for BASF

Number of cars in which Oxsilan® was used in 2019

around 2 million

Value for our customers

Process costs reduced by

up to 20%

Metal pretreatment provides long-term corrosion protection and ensures optimal paint adhesion in manufacturing processes in the automotive, appliance and packaging industries. In our Oxsilan® process, the same degree of corrosion protection is achieved with a thin layer of polysiloxanes as with the zinc-phosphating layers in traditional phosphating processes, which are around 10 times thicker. Oxsilan®, which we added to our portfolio with the acquisition of the Chemetall business, was used in around two million cars in 2019. We have recently gained additional approvals from automotive manufacturers, especially in Asia. We are continuously developing the technology to further improve the anti-corrosion performance and are currently undergoing approval processes at original equipment manufacturers for our latest Oxsilan® technology.

The Oxsilan® technology not only reduces materials consumption in metal pretreatment due to thinner layers. Oxsilan® additionally offers process cost savings of up to 20% in existing plants resulting from shorter pre-treatment times and higher productivity compared with traditional phosphating processes. It also enables water savings of up to 50% and energy cost savings of up to 40%.


  • Development of chemical solutions for surfaces in close collaboration with our customers
  • Targeting organic growth and a leading market position in battery materials

In the Surface Technologies segment, our focus is on the protection, modification and development of surfaces. We develop innovative products and technologies in close collaboration with our customers from the catalysts, coatings, battery materials and surface treatments sectors. Our aim is to drive organic growth by leveraging our portfolio of technologies to find the best solution for our customers in terms of functionality and cost. This helps our customers to drive forward innovation in their industries and contribute to sustainable development.

Key growth drivers for us are the positive medium-term development of the automotive market, especially in Asia, the trend toward sustainable, low-emission mobility in the automotive industry, and the associated rise in demand for battery materials for electromobility. Together with our customers, we are developing customized, sustainable solutions in these growth areas for battery materials, emission control, lightweight engineering concepts and coatings. Our specialties and system solutions enable customers to stand out from their competition.

We aim to establish BASF as a leading and innovative provider of battery materials and benefit from the strong growth in this specific market segment. A global production network for battery materials is crucial here. In 2018, we started construction of a plant in Harjavalta, Finland, to produce battery material precursors for the European automotive market. The production plant is being built next to the nickel and cobalt refinery owned by Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel). BASF and Nornickel have signed a long-term, market-based supply agreement for nickel and cobalt from Nornickel’s metal refinery. With the investment, BASF will be present in all major regions with local battery materials production and increased customer proximity. Another focus area is the continuous optimization of our product and services portfolio and our structures according to different regional market requirements as well as trends in our customer industries.

On December 21, 2019, BASF and an affiliate of Lone Star, a global private equity firm, signed an agreement on the sale of BASF’s construction chemicals business. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities. The Construction Chemicals division was previously reported under the Surface Technologies segment.