50 of the world’s largest chemical firms post a 7% decline in sales in 2020, reveals survey

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2nd September 2021 13:13 - Chemicals

50 of the world’s largest chemical firms post a 7% decline in sales in 2020: Chemical and Engineering News’ recent global survey, has revealed that the top 50 global chemical firms report a decline of 7% in sales from 2019 to £584 billion in 2020. Much of this decline is thought to be mainly due to the pandemic, however, a change in mindset about renewable energy has meant many firms have put their efforts into testing new forms of cleaner energy.
The survey polled the 50 chemical firms with the highest sales during 2020, finding that data from 44 of the 50 firms who reported their annual earnings for 2020 shows a decline of 22%; in comparison to a 28% decline reported by 46 companies in 2019.
The survey also revealed the top earning chemical firms globally, with BASF showing they made £34 billion worth of chemical sales in 2020. BASF also unveiled new plans to decrease their emissions by a quarter, in comparison to 2018. In addition, they have put a lot of effort into testing new and renewable sources of energy, including electrically powered heaters in steam crackers.
The largest UK based chemical firm reported in the study was INEOS, with a reported £23 billion worth of chemical sales. They too are following BASF in their investments into renewable energy, specifically attempting to make hydrogen from water.
Although, on average, there was a 7% decline in chemical sales, not all sectors in the industry were damaged as much as others. Firms that supplied for the food and drink industry saw strong sales, whereas firms supplying for the automotive industry were hit hard by the pandemic. A strong factor in this variation was the decline of oil and gas prices, bringing down chemical prices also.

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