Keeping up with the times

Chemical companies are constantly adapting to external challenges and this is clearly evident in a comparison of the ICIS listing of top chemical companies in 2008 and 1998. Three companies that figured in the top 10 list for 1998 have disappeared – ICI, Hoechst and Rhone Poulenc – as a result of mergers and acquisitions while Bayer, Elf Group and Akzo Nobel have fallen from the top 10.

Only BASF, Dow Chemical, DuPont and Mitsubishi Chemical are still in the top 10 although they are being challenged by new entrants such as Sabic, Sinopec, Ineos and LyondellBasell.

Sabic leads the pack in terms of sales growth during the last 10 years with sales rising from $4.9bn to $40bn.

But it is BASF which heads the ICIS top 100 table for 2008 with sales of $87.8bn. ExxonMobil pushed ahead of Dow Chemical to capture the number two spot with sales of $58.1bn. Dow came in third with sales of $57.5bn. Only one Indian company figures on the list – Reliance Industries which is ranked at No 34

Last year’s financial crisis left its mark on the industry. Of the top 100 companies, 23 posted net losses in 2008 and overall profits fell 53% year-on-year.

A full listing of the top 100 chemical companies is available here.


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