First Research US Industry Profile

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Industrial Chemical Manufacturing
SIC Codes: 2812, 2813, 2816, 2819, 2865, 2869
NAICS Codes: 3251
Last Quarterly Update: 5/9/2022
Companies in this industry manufacture chemicals, which are usually separate chemical elements or separate chemically-defined compounds, using basic processes, such as thermal crackling and distillation. Major companies include BASF (Germany), Dow (US), Formosa Petrochemical Corporation (Taiwan), Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Japan), SABIC (Saudi Arabia), Shell (the Netherlands), Sinopec Group (China), and TOTAL (France).
The global industrial chemical manufacturing industry generated about $4 trillion in annual revenue in 2019. China, the US, Japan, and Germany produce the most chemicals and are among the largest importers of chemicals. Countries in Asia and the Middle East are being targeted for industry growth.
The US industrial chemical manufacturing industry includes about 2,500 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $220 billion. Key growth drivers include output in major end-use markets such as automotive manufacturing and construction.
Competitive Landscape
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 70% of revenue. Specific market segments are often dominated by just a handful of competitors. As few as eight companies account for almost all revenues in the petrochemical and carbon black sectors, for example.
International trade in industrial chemicals is substantial. China, Canada, Germany, and Ireland are the largest suppliers of US imports. Top markets for US exports include Mexico, Canada, China, and Belgium.
Products, Operations & Technology
Industrial chemicals include gases like oxygen and nitrogen, dyes and pigments, chlorine and caustic soda, sulfuric and nitric acids, and thousands of ... plus:
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