Companies in this industry operate as merchant wholesale distributors of plastics materials and a variety of other chemical products. Major companies include Brenntag (based in Germany), HELM (Germany), ITOCHU (Japan), Sinochem (China), Tricon Energy (US), and Univar (US).
Most large companies operate globally but their distribution networks are concentrated in a single region or country. China, the US, Japan, and Germany produce the most chemicals, but countries in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia/Pacific are expected to see the greatest production growth over the next several years. China and India should have the highest growth rates, followed by Brazil and Russia.
The US chemical wholesalers industry includes about 12,500 establishments (single-location companies and branches of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $200 billion.
Chemical distribution is a cyclical business dependent on industrial demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on an efficient distribution system. Larger companies can offer more products and services. Local and regional distributors can compete effectively through superior service or geographic focus. The US industry is concentrated: the largest 50 companies generate more than half of revenue.
Imports to the US of industrial chemicals and plastic resins, largely from Canada, Germany, China, and Japan, are substantial. Many of these imports move through chemicals distributors.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products distributed are plastics materials, alkalis and chlorine, detergents and soaps, adhesives, and industrial gases. Plastics account for about
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms