Cefic names new president, cuts 2012 chems output forecast

28 September 2012 15:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Kurt Bock, chairman of German chemicals giant BASF, has been elected as the new president of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), the trade body said on Friday.

He replaces outgoing president Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of Mapei Group, who steps down after completing his two-year term.

The announcement was made at Cefic’s annual meeting in London, where Cefic director general Hubert Mandery also stated that the council has reduced its forecast for European chemicals industry output in 2012 to -1.5%, revised from earlier predictions that output would be static year on year. The council predicts 1% chemicals output growth for 2013.

Speaking at the event, Mandery said: “The eurozone and banking and debt crises have dampened industrial and consumer sentiment. It remains to be seen whether the latest measures by member states and the European Central Bank will finally restore the confidence needed to get Europe back on track.”

Bock, who will occupy the role of Cefic president for two years, has been chairman of BASF’s board of executive directors since May 2011, prior to which he served as CFO of the BASF Group from 2003 until 2011.

Commenting on the goals for his Cefic presidency, Bock said that he hoped to help the industry to capitalise on the opportunities provided by the global drive to conserve natural resources and increase energy efficiency.

He said: “Today, the world is rapidly using up its natural resources. This represents huge societal and economic challenges related to water, energy, food and living standards. This is extremely challenging for our industry, but given that our sector is fundamental to delivering the necessary solutions to these problems, I believe that sustainability introduces even bigger opportunities for our industry.”

Expanding on the economic outlook for the European chemicals industry, Mandery added that other regions would not necessarily be able to help Europe to recover, due to continuing economic difficulties in the US - combined with the market uncertainty caused by the US election - along with slower growth levels in emerging markets than have been seen in previous years.

Nevertheless, EU net chemicals exports are up €5.3bn ($6.9bn) for the first half of this year, but “it is questionable whether this will continue”, according to Mandery, as Europe continues to lose chemicals industry market share to emerging markets. Europe’s share of the €2,744bn global chemical sales in 2011 was 19.6%, down from a market share of 36% in 1991.

In related news, Bock was also appointed president of trade group International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) on Friday, succeeding Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. Bock will officially begin in the post on 1 January.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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