The Lonza Group was formed from the demerger of the algroup in October 1999. The business itself originates in the foundation of "Elektrizitätswerk Lonza" in 1897, with the goal of generating hydroelectric power for the manufacture of electrochemical products. In the first phase, a calcium carbide plant was built with the aim of serving the lighting market. Calcium carbide was also the starting material for the subsequent development of chemical products. In the following decades, Lonza Group developed its product range to encompass fertilizers, basic organic chemicals and intermediates. In the 1960's, Lonza Group entered into the petrochemical market by commissioning a naphtha cracker.