For more than 70 years...
1922: Invention of the first bitumen emulsion designed specifically for road surfacing – called Cold Asphalt – that gave Colas its name in 1929.
For more than 70 years, the history of Colas and the history of roads have followed the same path. At the beginning of the 1920s, two English chemists - Hugh Alan Mackay and George Samuel Hay - discover the first bitumen emulsion.
The "Cold Asphalt" patent was contracted to give way to the name "Colas" and is used for the first time in France by SGE in 1924. The process goes on to enjoy rapid development.
In 1925, the product is used to build the Montlhéry racetrack.
In 1929, Royal Dutch Shell bought a stake that led to the creation of a subsidiary called "Société routière Colas". The next few decades bear witness to the strength of a diversified, balanced group that has made global development one of its main assets.
In 1970, Colas took its first foothold in North America with the purchase of Canadian-based Sintra. At the beginning of the 1980s, the acquisition of Grand Travaux de l’Est is the starting point for Colas’ diversification into the fields of civil engineering and building.
At the same time, Colas celebrates its first project in Asia with the Jakarta Airport site.
In 1993, the Group reinforces its market positions through the acquisition of several companies: SACER and its subsidiaries, along with SPAC.
Since 1994, Colas has tightened its international network in Europe, North America and Asia, namely by acquiring the Colas companies that had remained under the control of Royal Dutch Shell and the other Colas trademarks around the world. Today, Colas is pursuing its development strategy with external growth in its core business sector.
The arrival of SCREG in 1996 has enabled the group to form the world’s leader in the road industry.
The acquisition of SMAC in 1999 and SECO-RAIL have led the group to diversity into the fields of waterproofing and railroad works.
The world’s leading road construction and maintenance Group
The Colas Group operates in every road-related industry, from transport infrastructure to the wide range of activities linked to the transformation and use of bitumen.
Backed by its 1400 profit centers, Colas works on every continent in over 40 countries.
Roads make up 80% of the Group’s activity.
This sector includes the construction of roads, highways, airports, automobile race tracks, etc.
along with major industrial activities.
In 2009, Colas produced:
• 106 million tons of aggregates
• 1.6 million tons of emulsions and binders
• 48.4 million tons of asphalt mix