Sumitomo Chemical Australia was established in 1998 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Co, Japan.
Sumitomo Chemical Co, Japan was established in 1913 to manufacture fertilizers from sulphur dioxide emitted from smelting operations at the Besshi copper mine in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, with the aim of solving environmental problems caused by the emissions. The mine itself was owned by Sumitomo a company which dates back to the 16th Century.
Founded with the dual goals of eliminating pollution and helping increase crop yields, Sumitomo has upheld its founding principle “We must not merely seek business profits but must contribute broadly to society through our business activities” as it has evolved.
The transition from fertiliser manufacturing to chemical production began in the 1930s when plans to scale up production of industrial chemicals were announced to the market as the company went public with a stock offer.
In the 1940s Sumitomo ventured into Fine Chemical production (dyestuffs, pharmaceutical intermediates etc).It was in the 1950s however that Sumitomo began to really diversify its operation with full scale investment into petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.
The Agricultural Chemical business started with the successful synthesis of allethrin in 1949, the first of many synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) developed and commercialised by Sumitomo over the next two decades. This range of specialised SPs revolutionised safe household insect control and are prolific domestic aerosol insecticides even today.