January 22, 2024

BASF– Illustration I Corporate development with an ecosystem perspective

Probably most of you know BASF and what this company does, but we are sure you will be surprised how BASF builds its ecosystem.

BASF Business Ecosystem

BASF– Illustration corporate development with an ecosystem perspective

Probably most of you know BASF and what this company does, but we are sure you will be surprised how BASF builds its ecosystem, with whom it cooperates and in which life areas BASF can be seen in the future.

In this article we have illustrated and explained in detail the corporate development of BASF. We first identified the most important products and services in the company's portfolio. Then we analyzed their investments and partnerships, as well as their impact on BASF's growth potential.

What will you take away from this blog article?
  • By combining the information, you will get a visual representation of BASF's ecosystem positioning, highlighting the company's strengths and areas for improvement.
  • You will understand how BASF manages its ecosystem to drive growth and achieve its strategic goals. 
  • And last, but not least, other companies can learn from BASF's approach, as many face the same challenges in a world with fewer and fewer industry boundaries.

Who is BASF?

BASF is a leading chemical company operating in a wide range of segments including chemicals, performance products and functional material to name just a few. They offer products and services like synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, styropor and technologies to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. From a user perspective, the company has a strong exposure in the chemical industry with a wide range of products and services for various sectors such as agriculture, automotive, construction and energy. In addition, the company has a strong global presence with a network of manufacturing sites, research and development centers, and distribution channels spanning different regions. In 2022, they achieved a revenue of 87.3 billion euros. 

BASF is also known for its commitment to sustainability and actively participates in various initiatives to reduce its environmental impact.

To visualize BASFs vast portfolio offerings, we used the Ecosystem Strategy Map.

The Ecosystem Strategy Map is a portfolio management tool designed to help business leaders navigate ecosystems with a strategic approach and a holistic perspective. By combining 10 Life Areas and three Roles, companies can create a visual map of their portfolio with the human at the center, combining the Life Areas with three concentric circles representing different roles: Orchestrators, Realizers, and Enablers. This arrangement aids in sketching out ecosystem offerings, products, and activities, thus facilitating a better understanding and strategy development for operating within a particular ecosystem.

In the following paragraph we will take a look at BASF based on a web research and map the current portfolio on the Ecosystem Strategy Map

  • Mobility: BASF produces and sells coatings, catalysts and materials for the automotive industry. These products are used in the manufacturing of cars, buses and trucks to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. BASF develops and produces materials for use in energy storage systems, such as batteries and fuel cells. The company provides a range of materials and solutions for use in tire production, including elastomers, fillers, and resins. These products are designed to help reduce friction, improve fuel efficiency, and extend the life of mechanical components.
  • Health: BASF produces and sells ingredients for pharmaceuticals, foods and dietary supplements as well as personal care products. For example, BASF produces vitamin B12 and vitamin D3 for use in foods and dietary supplements. BASF also offers a broad portfolio of chemical substances that simplify the product development process, including coating polymers suitable for a variety of oral formulations. Its dedicated agricultural solutions business offers products and services that help farmers maximize yields and improve crop quality.
  • Recreation: BASF produces and sells materials for sports equipment, such as golf balls and tennis balls, as well as products for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. The company provides a range of materials and solutions for use in the textile and leather industries, including high-performance fibers, dyes, and chemicals. These products are designed to improve the quality, comfort, and sustainability of clothing and footwear.
  • Work: BASF produces and distributes materials and chemicals for industrial applications, such as insulation materials and adhesives. For instance, BASF offers an extensive range of reagents for mineral processing in the mining industry,  including solid-liquid separation, solvent extraction, flotation, dispersion and agglomeration. It also offers inhouse consulting and technical services to improve efficiency and productivity in various industries such as oil and gas as well as in the mobility industry.
  • Consumption: BASF produces and sells ingredients and materials for consumer goods such as detergents, cleaning agents and personal care products. The company also offers solutions for agriculture, such as seed treatment and crop protection products. The company also develops and produces a range of materials and solutions that support food, and home products, including food ingredients and home care products.
  • Living: BASF produces and sells insulation materials and building systems for residential and commercial construction. It also offers solutions for energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

The Ecosystem Strategy Map reveals that with its core portfolio BASF is active in 6 out of 10 Life Areas exclusively serving business clients in the role of an Enabler in various industries. There is no positioning closer to the human being (as a Realizer or Orchestrator) and most parts of the portfolio are commodities combined with added value services and solutions. BASF’s portfolio is comparable to that of many traditional industry players. Nevertheless, many of BASF’s products serve specific human needs when they are further or finally processed (e.g. as described in Mobility or Consumption). With continuous development of AI technologies (especially driven through copilots that help us simplify our life B2C and B2B offerings will be more and more connected or even integrated so that also players like BASF have to get closer to the final needs of human beings. Moreover, due to the ongoing ecological transformation B2B players like BASF have to make sure to put the human in the center of their sustainability activities. In consequence, they do not have to offer end consumer products and services. But to fully leverage their potential they have to design their portfolio from an end-to-end human-centric perspective. AI and sustainability will transform the character of many offerings towards integrated experiences. More precisely, products and services will be offered as “bigger” bundles and solutions that are designed and operated by multiple companies. This is only possible with a network of partnerships or an ecosystem. Thus companies like BASF should review and manage their portfolio and identify upcoming potentials for ecosystem business models

In the next step, we deepen our analysis by having a look at the company's investment and partnership strategy using the Ecosystem Domains. Ecosystem Domains serve as a framework to identify potential areas of focus for businesses within ecosystems, based on human needs and emerging trends. They encompass diverse topic fields such as Seamless Mobility, Holistic Wellbeing, and New Work, each focusing on distinct aspects like integrated transportation solutions, health, and new workforce management methods respectively. Through these domains, companies can pinpoint relevant ecosystem topics for their strategic positioning, aiding in formulating specific ecosystem strategies.

But how are the Ecosystem Strategy Map and the Ecosystem Domains linked together?

By applying these methods to BASF's investments, acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the company's future focus and priorities. 

This will also help us to understand how these investments align with its core portfolio. For the analysis we have used data that is available in the CB-Inside report

In the following paragraph we will take a look at BASF’s investments, acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships based the CB.Inside report and map them to the Ecosystem Domains:

Over several Ecosystem Domains but mainly Industry 4.0, we see that BASF is investing in and partnering with companies in the field of Additive Manufacturing, such as Sculpteo, bigrep, and ESSENTIUM. This indicates a focus on developing new and advanced manufacturing technologies like three-dimensional printing.

In the Ecosystem Domain Customized and Fast Demand Fulfillment, we see that BASF is making acquisitions, investments, and partnerships in Agricultural Technology, such as CLOUDFARMS, Equinom, and Tropic Biosciences, indicating a focus on improving agricultural practices and increasing crop yields.

In the Ecosystem Domain Seamless Mobility, we observe that BASF is investing in and partnering with companies in the field of Battery Technology, such as Coreshell, Daimler, Volkswagen and Shanshan Battery Materials, indicating a focus on developing new and advanced batteries for electric vehicles.

In the Super Topic Sustainability, we see that BASF is investing in and partnering with companies in the field of Carbon Reduction Technology, such as SOLIDIA,CITRINE Informatics, and the Linde Group. This indicates a particular focus on reducing carbon emissions and developing sustainable products.

Also impacting Sustainability, we see that BASF is making acquisitions, investments, and partnerships in recycling technology, such as Zodiac Enterprises, Quantafuel, and Mitsui Chemicals, indicating a specific focus on developing new and advanced recycling technologies and closed-loop solutions. These investments deal with advancements in the recycling of waste materials and reducing the environmental impact of production processes.

In conclusion, BASF focuses on 4 out of 16 Ecosystem Domains. BASF's strategic alliances unveil a transformative journey from its core chemical domain towards embracing digital and ecosystemic frontiers. These fresh ventures, notably in additive manufacturing, agricultural technology, and battery technology, not only diversify BASF's portfolio but knit it closely with digital technologies and broader sustainability dynamics. By nurturing partnerships in these topic fields, BASF is not only keeping pace with the AI and sustainability wave but is also fostering a collaborative ecosystem that could steer the company towards new horizons of innovation and new business, seamlessly blending the traditional with the new-age. All in all, the investments, acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships demonstrate first steps complementing BASF’s traditional portfolio towards more technology and service offerings. Given the continuous development in AI and sustainability companies like BASF will have to foster ecosystem partnerships to create new business models with integrated experiences also in the future. 

So what did we learn today?

  • By using the Ecosystem Strategy Map and the Ecosystem Domains, we gained a holistic picture for the analyzed company's focus and priorities and first indications on its potential for future growth.
  • A traditional player like BASF is using its investments and partnerships to remain in topics which have a strong link to the core business. Nevertheless, the company plays the ecosystem game much more intensively than in the past 
  • AI and the Super Topic Sustainability have a high importance for future growth and are not just internal transformation topics but also potential drivers for business models 


Shareholder Structure

BASF | Company Overview & News

Business Segments

BASF SE Company Profile - BASF SE Overview - GlobalData

Product Overview – Agricultural Solutions

Organization of the BASF Group - BASF Report 2021

Product Overview

Pharmaceutical Product Finder | BASF Pharma

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