Specialty Chemicals in the Global Market: BizVibe’s Top 5

The global market for specialty chemicals is currently experiencing steady growth thanks in part to rapid urbanization. It’s expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 5% through 2021, and will exceed USD 800 billion in value by the end of the next four years. Europe is responsible for much of this growth: specialty chemicals accounted for more than 30% of total chemicals sales in the EU in 2015, and Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy accounted for more than 65% of the specialty chemicals sales in the EU that same year. Here is a list of the top 5 specialty chemicals manufacturers in the world, as determined by BizVibe:


  1. Dow Chemical: Founded in 1897, Dow Chemical is the world’s second largest chemical producer by chemical sales. With a presence in 160 countries, the company employs about 54,000 people worldwide and generated revenue of USD 48.15 billion in 2016. As of December 31, 2015, it held 4,651 active US patents and 19,541 active foreign patents.
  2. AkzoNobel: The company offers its specialty chemicals and associated products under the Bindzil, Biostyle, Dissolvine, Eka, Ecosel, Kromasil, Jozo, and Expancel brands. It is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and accounted for revenue of more than EUR 14 billion in 2016. Akzonobel serves customers from the consumer goods, transportation, building and infrastructure, and industrial sectors. The company’s specialty chemicals segment is categorized into functional chemicals, industrial chemicals, pulp and paper chemicals, and surface chemistry units.
  3. BASF: BASF serves customers in the paper, furniture, and automotive industries (amongst others) and has customers in 200 countries worldwide. Products in its specialty chemicals segment include water treatment chemicals, oilfield and mining chemicals, and textile chemicals. BASF is one of the leading suppliers of chemicals used to clarify raw water used for treating waste water stream and sludge volume reduction.
  4. Hexion Specialty Chemicals: Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, US, the company employs more than 4,000 people and has approximately 60 production and manufacturing facilities around the world. Prior to 2015, the company was known as Momentive Specialty Chemicals.
  5. Arkema: Headquartered in Colombes, France, Arkema is a leading global player and manufacturer of chemicals and advanced materials. It mainly serves customers in the aerospace, aeronautics, automotive, electronics, oil, and consumer goods industries. The company has more than 18,000 employees and has approximately 140 production centers located in Europe, North America and Asia.

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