SSE Group - History

since 1894

The Société Suisse des Explosifs (SSE) was founded in 1894 to supply explosives for the Swiss Alps Simplon tunnel. The opening of this strategic connection between Switzerland and Italy sparked the consequent industrial development, transforming the SSE Group into an internationally recognized company in the field of explosives and fine chemicals custom manufacturing.

The key milestones of SSE history 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 on Swiss explosives market.

SSE decided to diversify its business model and enter the Chemicals and Pharma Custom Manufacturing business and at the same time to position itself as a leader in the 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: SSE purchased full ownership of Valsynthese SA
2014: Investment into a new phosgenation unit.

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

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

2013: Diversification into 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 (SSE Holding)

After more than 125 years, SSE Group has undergone major developments, however its vision and strategy remain unchanged. 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 markets.

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

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