Denmark: Annual Report 2020 Haldor Topsoe Records Strong Financial Performance despite Covid-19

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Haldor Topsoe’s total revenue increased by 5 % to 1,010 million dollars in 2020. Last year, the company also introduced a new organization to focus on carbon emission reduction technologies.

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Topsoe is entering 2021 with a healthy order book and expects to deliver a solid financial performance in 2021.
Topsoe is entering 2021 with a healthy order book and expects to deliver a solid financial performance in 2021.
(Source: Haldor Topsoe)

Denmark – “Despite 2020 being dominated by the global Covid-19 pandemic, we have managed to deliver a strong financial performance for the full year of 2020. Revenue and Ebit before special items were in line with our outlook, and this is very positive in a year characterized by uncertainty and rapid change on a global scale. It proves the resilience of our business model,” says CEO Roeland Baan.

A Year of Transformation

2020 marked the launch of a strategic transformation for Topsoe. Guided by a new purpose ‘Perfecting chemistry for a better world’, the company established a clear vision: ‘To be recognized as the global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies by 2024’. This has led to a more commercially focused organization built on three pillars.

The first pillar, Global Strategy & Innovation, combines the development of company strategy with world-class R&D activities to secure a perfect alignment and benchmark innovation rate.

The second pillar, Global Commercial, combines all commercial activities in one global organization to ensure a strong commercial mindset, singular customer focus and service, and fast commercialization of new product offerings.

And finally, the third pillar, Global Supply, brings together the full supply chain activities to produce high-quality products more efficiently.

Financial Performance

Total revenue increased by 5 % to 1,010 million dollars (DKK 6,179 million) in 2020 (2019: 964 million dollars (DKK 5,897 million)). The revenue development is explained by an increase in catalyst revenue of 4 %, mainly driven by refinery catalysts, including deliveries for renewable fuel solutions, as well as an increase in technology revenue of 8 %, mainly driven by renewable refinery technology and methanol technology.

Ebit before special items for 2020 increased by 6 % to 139 million dollars (DKK 853 million) (2019: 132 million dollars (DKK 806 million)), while the Ebit margin before special items for 2020 was 13.8 % (2019: 13.7 %). Total special items of 45 million dollars (DKK -275 million) for 2020 consist of restructuring costs, legal costs related to special cases, and adjustments of scrap values on buildings.

Consequently, Ebit after special items decreased by 39 % to 94 million dollars (DKK 578 million) in 2020 (2019: 154 million dollars (DKK 942 million)). R&D expenses were maintained at a high level with a R&D-to-revenue ratio of 8.3 % (2019: 8.0 %).

Net profit amounted to 78 million dollars (DKK 480 million) in 2020 (2019: 117 million dollars (DKK 714 million)). The decrease in net profit was mainly due to the already mentioned special items in 2020 and a gain from sale of land in 2019.

Health, Safety and Environment

Topsoe continued to improve in the field of health and safety, and this has led to a significant reduction in the metric total recordable incident frequency (Trif). In 2020, Topsoe achieved a Trif of 0.90 compared to 1.29 in 2019.

However, health and safety must be improved further. Topsoe is deeply committed to the concept of Zero Harm and has set a target to be in the top quartile of our industry, measured on Trif. For this reason, the Health, Safety & Environment department has been reinforced with new leadership reporting to the CEO.

Topsoe’s commitment to Zero Harm includes a pronounced ambition to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions from its plants. In 2020, the company achieved energy savings of 7,211 MWh and reduced water consumption by 13 %. With the firm’s recent commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative, it pledges to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain in the coming decade, in support of the Paris Agreement. The firm’s short-term target is a 15 % reduction in 2021 (on a like-for-like basis, 2019 baseline).


Topsoe is entering 2021 with a healthy order book and expects to deliver a solid financial performance in 2021, roughly in line with 2020 on revenue level. However, Covid-19 continues to create uncertainty in the company’s global markets, which will potentially affect projects in 2021.