World fine-chem market will shrink in 2009 – US Sigma-Aldrich

29 May 2009 22:17  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The global fine chemicals market will shrink this year, but the lapse will be temporary, the president of a Sigma-Aldrich subsidiary said on Friday.

The $55bn (€40bn) fine chemicals market had been growing at 3-5%/year for many years, but growth in 2009 “will be at best flat, and probably decline”, said Gilles Cottier, president of SAFC, the fine chemicals business of US-based Sigma-Aldrich, at a New York press conference

Cottier said that SAFC's own first-quarter results - which included a 5% decline in organic sales - were “not stellar”, but he identified several bright spots.

SAFC's high-potency and drug conjugate activities have been “going strong”, he said, while biopharmaceutical raw materials are growing at high single-digit percentage rates.

Further, the company's portfolio of booked orders, which “hit bottom” in the fourth quarter, began to grow again in February, and it has since recovered to its pre-recession level, Cottier said.

“We are still very cautious, because there are some areas where we lack visibility, but we [believe] that things are going to get better,” he said.

Cottier projected strong long-term growth for SAFC, noting that the company is a significant supplier into 350 of the pharmaceutical industry's developmental pipelines - three times more than five years ago.

“This economic recession will challenge the market and the survival of the weakest players. We are very fortunate to be among the most robust players,” he said.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Clay Boswell
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