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Chemical Industry Trends

Basic Chemicals Put to the Test – Set and Match for Specialties

| Author: Anke Geipel-Kern

Specialty Chemicals Companies Rubbing Their Hands

The study sees special chemical industry groups like Merck, Evonik, Clariant or Wacker as the major gainers. In Germany alone, industry experts of Commerzbank predict an increase in production of three percent for special chemical companies in 2016. The cause of this happy prospect is the consumers’ hunger in the newly industrialised countries, mainly China. Notwithstanding the current dip in growth, the Middle Kingdom continues to remain a source of hope.

“As a market, China is so large, that it always seems to be like a vacuum cleaner”, says the General Manager of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), Utz Tillmann.

Mid-size suppliers of specialty chemicals may hope – particularly industry chemicals, which, says the experts from Commerzbank, can continue to expand their innovation. In the process, they benefit from the high level of the domestic research institutions, industrial partners as well as a demanding and broad clientele: like from plastic processing or the automobile industry.

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The growth of specialty chemicals is very satisfying at present because of the use of innovative technologies in products and processes – like Nano- and Biotechnology – and also the increasing development of environmentally-friendly chemicals and processes. The German industry can score with high-value solutions for demanding clients within the country and all the overseas markets, adds Tillmann. It will then continue to grow in the future in Germany – in a group comprising Pharma, basic- and specialty chemicals.

Energy is Chemicals' Achilles Heel

From the point of view of the VCI, the success factors comprise the central role in the industry network, high innovation strength, strong middle class, particularly efficient production systems and an alignment of the product strategy of the company to mega trends and sustainability. The detriments in the shape of energy costs are homemade in no small part.

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So that Germany’s third largest industry can stay on the path to success, it needs better energy-policy framework conditions, says Tillmann: “The energy policy is an Achilles’ heel of our competitiveness. Frequently changing statutory specifications and a lot of state intervention in the energy market cause a high level of planning insecurity in the company – and thus, caution in investments”.

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