The History of Yara

The company’s development is rooted in Norwegian industrial firm Norsk Hydro, which dates back to 1905.

That’s when industrialists Sam Eyde, Kristian Birkeland and Marcus Wallenberg tapped into Norway’s large hydro energy resources to produce the company’s first important product: Mineral fertilizer, which attracted attention from all over the world since it enabled farmers to boost their yields.

Decades later, after Norsk Hydro itself had expanded into a vast array of businesses from fertilizers to oil to metals, the division mostly devoted to agricultural products and co-products was spun off into its own stocklisted entity. Yara International ASA debuted on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2004, but a lot happened in the intervening years and the company’s story continues…

Birkland and Eyde

1900-1905

The world's first production of Nitrogen fertilizer "Norgessalpeter" (calcium nitrate) at a test facility in Notodden, Norway. Production based on the Birkeland Eyde invention using hydroelectric power to extract nitrogen from air.

1906-1919

1906-1919

A new large scale production plant including power supply completed at Notodden and construction of the plant at Rjukan. King Chulalongkorn of Siam visited both sites.

1920-1939

1920-1939

1920-1939 Ammonia production began at Rjukan (1928). Plants established at Porsgrunn (1929). New industrial products like heavy water, CO2 developed. Yara Sluiskil (NSM) opened (1929).

1940-1959

1940-1959

Sales office opened in Stockholm. Sales began in the USA focusing on Calcium nitrate for fruit and vegetable cash crops. The Glomfjord plant opened  and used hydroelectric power to upgrade ammonia to calcium nitrate and NPK (1949).

1960-1969

1960-1969

Ammonia production established at Porsgrunn, one plant based on partial oxidation of heavy fuel oil and one based on steam reforming of naphta. The Qafco joint venture with Qatar Industries was established in 1969.

1978-1990

1978-1990

Acquisition of NSM (Netherlands), Supra (Sweden), Fisons (UK), Ruhr Sticstoff (Germany), Windmill (Netherland), Cofaz (France). Terminal established in Chiwan, China in 1982. Office established in Harare, Zimbabwe 1983.

1999-2003

1999-2003

Agri acquired Adubos Trevo in Brazil and a controlling stake in Kynoch, South Africa. Turnaround and consolidation of the company. Hydro decided to list Agri on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

2004-2005

2004-2005

Listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange; March 25, 2004. Yara focuses on a future as the high-performance leader of the fertilizer industry.

2006-2007

2006-2007

Yara expanded in Brazil, bought half of Balderton, set up a joint venture with Praxair and took over Kemira GrowHow. The company also made strides in the development of emission abatement products.

2008-2009

2008-2009

Yara won a major environmental award, expanded its joint venture in Qatar, reported record earnings and got a new CEO, Jørgen Ole Haslestad. The company signed the final agreement to create Lifeco and started the construction of new Urea7 plant in the Netherlands.

2010-2011

2010-2011

Yara sells Fosfertil in Brazil and enters emerging DEF market in the USA. African engagement expands, with two clearly defined corridors being developed. In the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania, Yara decided to invest USD 20 million in a new fertilizer terminal.

2012-2013

2012-2013

Yara co-sponsored the Sahara Forest Project pilot facility outside Doha and Yara's CEO Jørgen Ole Haslestad represented the private sector on stage when the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was launched by U.S. President Barack Obama. Yara continued its strategic expansion worldwide, acquiring Bunge's fertilizer business in Brazil and the German water sensor company ZIM Plant Technology GmbH, among other key acquisitions.