The speciality chemical market is complex and each specialty chemicals business segment comprises many sub-segments, each with individualized product, market and competitive profiles. This has given rise to a wide range of business needs and opportunities, consequently there are a large number of speciality chemical companies around the world. Many of these companies are SME's with their own niche products and sometimes technology focus. The common stock of over 400 speciality chemical companies from around the world are identified by Bloomberg the providers of global business and financial information. There are many more privately owned speciality chemical companies that are not quoted on the global stock markets.
The 10 largest European speciality chemical companies are BASF, AkzoNobel, Clariant, Evonik, Cognis, Kemira, Lanxess, Rhodia, Wacker and Croda. By definition, speciality chemicals are produced in relatively small quantities but they represent 28 per cent of EU chemical sales.
The 10 largest USA Speciality Chemical Companies are The Lubrizol Corporation, Huntsman, Ashland, Chemtura, Rockwood, Albemarle, Cabot, W. R. Grace, Ferro Corporation, and Cytec Industries.
The emergence of India as a manufacturer and supplier of speciality chemicals has had a major impact on the Global speciality chemical industry. In India the many speciality chemical companies are members of national organisations such as the Indian Chemical Council (ICC) and the Indian Speciality Chemical Manufacturers' Association (ISCMA). The wide capability of these companies extends into all sectors and sub-sectors of the speciality chemical market.
The United Kingdom has 1300 speciality chemical companies and which have an annual turnover of £11.2 billion.The products of these UK companies are sold globally and contribute significantly to the UKs export trade. With over £30 billion of exports the chemical industry is the last remaining net-exporting manufacturing industry in the UK and Speciality Chemicals make up a significant proportion of this. The products include dyestuffs, paints, explosives, adhesives, flavors and fragrances, photographic chemicals, unrecorded media and various industrial specialities. As Speciality Chemical manufacturers, unlike commodity chemical manufacturers, are less dependent on large scale infrastructure, therefore Speciality Chemical companies can be found in almost all regions of the UK. Some 80% of the United Kingdom Chemical industry is based in the north of the country and consequently there are concentrations of Speciality Chemical companies in Yorkshire, and in the membership of the Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).
The global speciality chemical market
In 2011 the Global Specialty Chemicals market had total revenues of $767.5 billion and it is reported that it had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% between 2007 and 2011. The market is further projected to reach $980 billion by the end of 2016. These speciality products are marketed as pesticides, speciality polymers, electronic chemicals, surfactants, construction chemicals, Industrial Cleaners, flavors and fragrances, speciality coatings, printing inks, water-soluble polymers, food additives, paper chemicals, oil field chemicals, plastic adhesives, adhesives and sealants, cosmetic chemicals, water management chemicals, catalysts, textile chemicals.
The world's top five specialty chemicals segments in 2012 were specialty polymers, industrial and institutional (II) cleaners, construction chemicals, electronic chemicals, and flavors and fragrances. These segments had a market share of about 36% The ten largest segments accounted for 62% of total annual specialty chemicals sales.