Top 100 chemical companies' sales dropped 20% in 2009 - ICIS

13 September 2010 10:58  [Source: ICIS news]

Top 100 chem companiesLONDON (ICIS)--Revenues for the world’s 100 biggest chemical companies fell sharply to below $1,000bn (€790bn) in 2009 for the first time since 2005, according to analysis published on Monday.

As the financial and economic crisis sent the global economy into recession, the chemical sector was hit hard, suffering a 19.7% fall in sales to $997bn, the ICIS Top 100 listing, sponsored by global logistics group DAMCO, shows.

For the Top 100 chemical companies, sales declined by an average of 14.7% in reported currencies and 12.0% in US dollars in 2009. In total, profits of the Top 100 fell 17.5% in US dollars.

Even the top 10 biggest players suffered badly, with revenue falls of between 13% and 44% in local currencies and some drastic falls in profitability. Global leader BASF of Germany suffered around a 50% drop in net profit last year.

Company names listed within the Top 10 this year are exactly the same as last year, but there has been quite a lot of reshuffling. BASF retained the top spot, while Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil, both US, 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.

“The global chemical industry was hit hard in 2009 as the financial and economic crisis slammed confidence and business froze in the early part of the year. But many companies have since managed to climb out of the depths in solid shape,” said Joseph Chang, Global Editor of ICIS Chemical Business.

Nigel Davis, ICIS Insight Editor, said: “The recovery in demand and in chemicals output has persisted into 2010 with the year’s second quarter marking what many see as a high point.”

Looking ahead to the ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies listing in 2010, companies will post significant sales and profit gains as demand has rebounded.

“The questions being asked now have more to do with the sustainability of growth in a much-changed financial world rather than business survival,” said Davis.

“China’s demand continues to provide the key to volume but recovery in North America, Japan and Europe has yet to help drive output and capacity utilisation to the levels reached before the recession,” he added.

The ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies table was compiled by Lara McNamee and the ICIS data and analytics team led by Paul Ray.

A PDF of the ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies is available for download here
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By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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