Glass raw materials supplier Solvay may leave the soda ash business.

The soda ash manufacturer said it had started to organise its soda ash and derivatives business into a separate legal entity, a step companies usually undertake before selling a business.

Solvay says the new legal structure will enable it to optimize the soda ash business’s cash flow generation and profit while increasing its ‘future strategic flexibility.’

The company is the world’s largest producer of soda ash (sodium carbonate), a key raw material used in the glass manufacturing business.

Soda ash is a historic business for Solvay that dates back to 1863 when the company was formed. Brothers Ernest and Alfred Solvay founded the company after family members, led by Ernest, invented the ammonia soda production process, also known as the Solvay process.

The business now generates annual sales of $1.75 billion and has 3,100 employees, 11 production sites and three research facilities.