Our history

Elkem's history started in 1904, when the industrial entrepreneur Sam Eyde (1866–1940) established Det Norske Aktieselskap for Elektrokemisk Industri (Elektrokemisk). The goal was to create an international industry company based on Norwegian natural resources.

In 2014, we marked 110 years since Sam Eyde, Knut Tillberg and the Wallenberg brothers met in Stockholm to form a company with the goal to become a major industrial company with an international outlook. Over these 110 years, Elkem has contributed to many pioneering advances within the metallurgical industry that have led to growth and progress for all our stakeholders and society at large.

At the centenary in 2004, we commissioned Professor Knut Sogner to write the history of Elkem, resulting in the comprehensive and intriguing book «Skaperkraft» (Creative Power). The book describes a century of initiative, determination and success, as well as disappointment and even despair. In summary this is as story of a company with staying power long-term commitment to technological development. Knut Sogner adapted his book into a short English version in 2004 and we have asked him to update it with a new chapter portraying the last ten years. You can download the book here.

After being acquired by Orkla in 2005, selling off the aluminium and power businesses and then being acquired by China National Bluestar in 2011, Elkem has returned its main focus to the business areas that started with the invention of the Söderberg electrode in 1917. With the sustainable and innovative production of silicon for solar energy, silicon based alloys and carbon products, we are looking to strengthen our position in key markets as well as to expand in new parts of the world. In June 2017 Elkem assumed management responsibility of Xinghou Silicones, a silicones producer, and Yongdeng Silicon Materials, a silicon producer. The two plants now form part of Elkem’s silicon value chain, from quarts to downstream silicones specialities, and gives Elkem increased access to the Chinese market.

As Elkem turns another decade, there are great opportunities ahead, particularly with silicon being a key element in renewable energy solutions.

110 years of innovation 

1904: Elkem is founded by Sam Eyde, brothers Magnus and Knut Wallenberg and Knut Tillberg, with the aim of creating a new, internationally-oriented industry company based on Norway's natural resources, Norwegian hydropower and know-how.

1918: Elkem patents the Söderberg electrode, which is still in use in about 75% of the world's smelting plants.

1919: 51 different companies belong to the Elkem sphere, including Norsk Hydro (later Yara), Kristiansand Nikkelraffineringsverk (later Xstrata).

1920s and 1930s: The Great Depression: almost all of Elkem's companies are sold.

1958: Elkem becomes an aluminium producer.

1963: Joins forces with Alcoa as a partner.

1965: Elkem helps to found Norway's first oil company, NOCO.

1972: Elkem merges with Christiania Spikerverk, becomes Norway's largest industrial company and helps to found Saga.

1980: Elkem buys seven ferrosilicon plants in Norway, the US and Canada, and becomes the world's largest producer of ferroalloys.

2005: Elkem takes over aluminium profiles company, Sapa, which employs around 14,000 people. Elkem owns 23% of REC.

2005: Orkla acquires Elkem.

2009: Elkem ceases aluminium production. Alcoa takes over the plants.

2011: China National Bluestar buys Elkem from Orkla.

2015: Elkem acquires Bluestar Silicones International and spinns off Elkem Solar. 

2016: Elkem acquires Elkem Rana and Elkem Nagpur.

2017: Bluestar Silicones changes name to Elkem Silicones. Elkem assumed management responsibility of Jiangxi Bluestar Xinghuo Silicones and Bluestar Yongdeng Silicon Materials.