Commentary: ICIS Top 100 list reveals a tough 2009

13 September 2010 00:00  [Source: ICB]

This week we unveil our annual ICIS Top 100 Chemical Company listing (see pages 27-34). Last year was a tumultuous one for the global industry. Most companies suffered big falls in sales and profitability.

Even the global leaders were not immune. A quick look at the top 10 shows revenue falls of between 13% and 44% and some pretty drastic drops in profitability. Global leader BASF of Germany suffered around a 50% drop in net profit last year.

The companies listed within the Top 10 this year are exactly the same as last year, but there has been quite a lot of reshuffling. BASF is so far ahead of its peers that it was bound to retain the top spot, while Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil, both US, have swapped places.

The most startling movement upwards is China's Sinopec, which moved from eighth to fourth. With a domestic market that more or less shrugged off the recession, this is unsurprising. Sliding in the opposite direction is Switzerland-headquartered INEOS, moving from six to 10. The company has a heavy dependence on mature markets that contracted sharply last year.

A broader interpretation of the figures throws up some interesting statistics. As the article on pages 36-37 shows, total revenues for the Top 100 plummeted by 20% between 2008 and 2009 to $997bn (€782bn).

By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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