ICIS Top 100 chemical company list reveals sales dip to below $1 trillion

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Revenues for the world’s 100 biggest chemical companies fell sharply to below $1,000bn in 2009 for the first time since 2005, according to the Top 100 chemical company listing published by ICIS today.

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 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. Total profits of the Top 100 fell 17.5% in US dollars.

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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.

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