In my early days as a news reporter, central and eastern Europe plus Russia was part of my beat. I still have a keen interest in this region so it makes sense to have a way of gathering news together and commenting on it.
In the early 2000's when I started looking at this region there was a lot of talk of Russians trying to gain a foothold in its chemical industry. There was talk of secretive Russian investors building stakes in Hungary's BorsodChem, and of Russian bids in the various privatisations going on in the region. They have not been very successful, thanks mainly I think to the mistrust felt by many in CEE. History weighs heavy!
There was talk of consolidation. Would Poland's PKN Orlen tie up with Hungary's MOL to create a pan-regional player? This never happened and Austrian OMV's bid to do the same through a merger with MOL seems to have failed miserably.
Indeed the region was once seen as a major growth focus in chemicals. The industry has now overlooked it, so preoccupied is it with China and India.
But there is a lot of potential here, especially with large poulations in Russia and Poland and above average GDP growth. Surviving the downturn is now the key priority here as elsewhere. I hope to bring you more chemical-industry related news and insight into this fascinating area.