SSE Group - History

since 1894

The Société Suisse des Explosifs (SSE) was founded in 1894 to supply explosives to build the Simplon tunnel in the Swiss Alps. This strategic connection between Switzerland and Italy triggered an industrial development of a company which today is internationally well regarded on the market for civil explosives and fine chemicals.

The development of SSE Group can be summarized in 3 phases as follows:

1894 – 1970: Explosives Producer

During this period SSE was mainly present in the Swiss explosives market focussing on the production of dynamite and various other explosives.

1970 – 2012: Industrial diversification – Chemicals and Pharma – Leader of Swiss explosives market.

SSE decided to diversify its scope into Chemicals and Pharma applications and to position itself as market leader of Swiss explosives market.
The required investments to produce chemical intermediates as well as pharma APIs triggered a fundamental change in the investors’ portfolio.

Fine Chemicals and Pharma:
1971: Diversification into Fine Chemicals with establishment of a new production unit. 
1983: Entry into the pharmaceutical business with the foundation of Valsynthese SA, a joint venture between SSE and the French company UPSA
1995: Ownership of Valsynthese SA fully transferred to SSE
2014: Investment into a new phosgenation unit.  

1998 - 2007: Expansion on the Swiss explosives market through different local acquisitions.
1995: Expansion through participations in new legal entities in Sweden and Norway.

2013 –today: International expansion. SSE becomes a European Group headquartered in Switzerland.

2013: Diversification in pyrotechnics with the acquisition of Hamberger Swiss Pyrotechnics
2013: Expansion in Central Europe through the acquisition of EPC  entities in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania
2016: Major new acquisition in Central Europe of Orica entities in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
2016: Implementation of a holding structure

After more than 120 years, SSE Group has undergone a major development, however its vision and strategy remain constant. As a group, SSE continues to offer a premium service to customers and partners, both in the explosives as well as in the chemical and pharma market. 

The philosophy continues to be based on giving importance to independence and to implement a long term industrial strategy.

The SSE Group belongs to private shareholders, mostly from Switzerland.