In the last half of the 19th Century, DuPont Canada's predecessor, Hamilton Powder Company, provided the explosives needed to clear the way for Canada's railroads. As Canada grew, so did DuPont Canada; one as a nation, the other as a fledgling explosives company, each helping the other to expand and prosper. Vast quantities of explosives were needed to clear a path for the emerging nation's network of railways.
The Hamilton Powder Company, provided much of the explosives, and helped to open up and unite large sections of the country. DuPont Canada traces its roots back to 1862, when Hamilton Powder was formed. Hamilton Powder needed expansion capital and technical assistance to meet a rapidly growing demand for its products.
In 1877, Lammot du Pont - a firm believer in dynamite as the successor to black powder, and in the potential of the expanding explosives market - purchased shares in Hamilton Powder, and became a director of the company. With this fresh start, Hamilton Powder flourished and in 1910 amalgamated with several smaller Canadian explosives and chemical companies to form Canadian Explosives Limited (CXL). Shortly thereafter, during World War I, CXL produced a large percentage of the explosives and ammunition supplied by Canada to its own forces and their allies.
In 1919, with the end of the war, the company entered entirely new industries when it acquired three Canadian subsidiaries of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Following further expansion and acquisitions, the company adopted the name Canadian Industries Limited (C.I.L.) to better reflect the nature of its activities.
Throughout the booming 1920s and the depression of the 1930s, C.I.L. continued to grow. One of its largest new plants was a cellophane cellulose film plant in Shawinigan Falls, Québec, built in 1932. In 1942, the second nylon plant in the world was built in Kingston, Ontario.
When World War II interfered with peaceful growth in Canada, the company once again placed its organization and facilities at the disposal of the government's war effort. Except for nylon, most of the company's direct war effort was concentrated in a special subsidiary, Defence Industries Limited, which built, managed and operated government-owned war plants. At one time, this subsidiary had about six times as many employees as did C.I.L.
In the period after WW II, the company's two major shareholders - E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) - became engaged in defending the anti-trust suit taken against them in the United States. Judgment was rendered against the partners in 1952.
For over 50 years, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and ICI had held a joint interest in C.I.L. and its forerunners. Access to the new developments and technical information of these two shareholders had been a substantial factor in the company's success and in the growth of the chemical industry in Canada.
The judgment in the U.S. court ordered DuPont and ICI, among other things, to separate their interests in the Canadian company. The arrangement divided C.I.L. into two parts, one of which would be a subsidiary of DuPont and the other of ICI. The plan gave minority shareholders an interest in each of the two new companies, thus protecting their shares in future benefits to be derived from the flow of research and technical information from both DuPont and ICI.
On July 1, 1954, the division of the assets and business of C.I.L. became effective. The DuPont subsidiary became Du Pont of Canada Limited and the ICI subsidiary kept the name Canadian Industries Limited. DuPont Canada's operations at the time were:
Films: Cellophane cellulose film, polyethylene sheeting and lay-flat tubing, and cellulose sponge produced at the Shawinigan Falls plant.
Textile fibers: Nylon filament yarns and staple, nylon monofilament, adipic acid and hexamethylene diamine produced at the Kingston and Maitland, Ontario, plants. As well, Orlon® acrylic fiber filament yarns and staple were imported from E .I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and sold in Canada.
Sales of various chemicals and petroleum chemicals imported from DuPont in the U.S. and sold in Canada by DuPont of Canada.
In the next five years, the company embarked on an aggressive program of expansion and diversification, which included the construction in Ontario of a research center at Kingston, and new manufacturing sites at Ajax (consumer paints, automotive and industrial finishes), North Bay (explosives), Sarnia (polyethylene resin), and Whitby (polyethylene film).
Since those early years, DuPont Canada's portfolio of businesses and product offerings has gone through considerable change in keeping with a strategy to invest only in products and businesses where we can be fully competitive with the world's best in cost, quality and value.
This has meant expanding certain operations, introducing leading-edge technology, entering new higher-value businesses, and shutting down or selling off others. We sold the polyethylene resin business in 1993. In 1998, we divested the hydrogen peroxide business unit, including the Gibbons, Alberta, site and hydrogen peroxide operations at our Maitland facility.
In 1999, DuPont Canada acquired Granirex Inc., a Québec-based manufacturer of decorative and durable engineered-stone products used in decorative surface applications.
In February, 2002, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, the global DuPont organization, announced the next step in its transformation into a sustainable growth company with the alignment of its business units into five market- and technology-focused growth platforms and the creation of a new subsidiary called INVISTA (formerly DuPont Textiles & Interiors). The intent was to separate INVISTA by mid-2004, and to consider an initial public offering (IPO) of shares, or sale to a third party, among other strategic options. At DuPont Canada, we then initiated a process to determine the implications of these changes on our business units, employees, customers, shareholders, and suppliers to make the transition as smooth and transparent as possible.
In May of 2002, DuPont Canada added a new member to its communities with the acquisition of Liqui-Box Corporation. This new entity, currently known as DuPont Liquid Packaging Systems, is a pre-eminent leading manufacturer of packaging systems for pumpable food products for institutional applications.
In March 2003, we announced that our parent company, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, had made an offer to purchase all of DuPont Canada's common shares not owned by it. The acquisition was completed in late July 2003 after an Annual and Special meeting of shareholders. The buyout of DuPont Canada's minority shares was designed to help facilitate the separation of INVISTA which had been announced in February 2002.
Soon after the buyout, we began a major restructuring of our Canadian operations and a transformation to a new business model. On April 12, 2004, DuPont Canada announced the outcome of its restructuring efforts that would position the company for sustainable growth and future success following the expected sale of INVISTA to Koch Industries, of Wichita, Kansas.
The new Canadian entity, called E. I. du Pont Canada Company is commonly known as DuPont Canada. This new entity is pursuing DuPont business interests in Canada and maintaining a significant presence in our country.
On April 30, 2004, both DuPont and subsidiaries of Koch Industries finalized the sale of INVISTA.
Today, DuPont Canada is an advanced, science-based company focused on sustainability; proud of its heritage and poised for the future. The DuPont Research and Business Development Centre celebrated its 50th Anniversary in June 2005. It’s a world leader in the combined development of polymer products and processes.