Companies in this industry manufacture gases, dyes and pigments, chlorine and caustic soda, sulfuric and nitric acids, and organic chemicals. Major companies include Dow and DuPont (both based in the US), BASF (Germany), Formosa (Taiwan), Royal Dutch Shell (the Netherlands), Mitsubishi Chemicals (Japan), SABIC (Saudi Arabia), Sinopec (China), and TOTAL (France).
The global industrial chemical manufacturing industry generates about $2 trillion in annual revenue. China, the US, Japan, and Germany produce the most chemicals and are among the largest importers of chemicals. Countries in Asia, the Middle East, and South America are being targeted for industry growth.
The US industrial chemical manufacturing industry includes about 1,500 companies with combined annual revenue of about $275 billion. Key growth drivers include output in major end-use markets such as automotive manufacturing and construction.
Demand depends on the overall strength of the economy, because most industrial chemicals are used in the manufacture of more-complicated products like fibers, plastics, paints, and paper. The profitability of individual companies is closely linked to efficient operations, because most products are commodities. Big producers have large economies of scale in production, which is why some chemicals are made by just a handful of companies. Small companies can compete effectively by making specialized or highly-purified products.
The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 75 percent of revenue. Specific market segments are often dominated by just a handful of competitors. As few as eight companies...