Skip to main content

Feature article - Four strategies to meet chemical industry challenges in 2024

Stephen Ottley, head of chemicals & energy at SGS Maine Pointe, outlines ways chemical companies can deal with the current uncertainty

The chemical industry is part of every major segment of the US economy and makes up more than 25% of US GPD. When the chemical industry struggles, the economy feels the vibration—and when the economy struggles, the chemical industry reacts. The last 18 months have seen tremendous shifts.

Alliance in natural fragrances

Sensegen, a US-based specialist in biotech-enabled fragrances, notably a new class of natural musk raw materials, has announced a strategic collaboration with Japan’s Takasago, a large player in the flavours and fragrances industry. Commercial terms were not disclosed.

The two companies stated that they are “joining forces to yield a fusion of creativity and technical prowess, promising to redefine the landscape of olfactory experiences”. The global market for natural fragrance is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.7% between 2022 and 2030, reaching $8.5 billion in 2030.

Wacker plans silicone specialities plant

Wacker Chemie is to invest an amount in the “low triple-digit million euro range” on a new, 20,000 tonnes/year silicones facility at Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Development work on the site is set to begin shortly, with construction starting in Q2, subject to approval by the authorities. It is due onstream at the start of 2025 and will create up to 20 jobs.

Altana grows in pigments

German speciality chemicals group Altana has agreed to acquire the Silberline Group subject to customary closing conditions. Terms are not being disclosed. The business will henceforth form part of Altana’s Eckart division. Based in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, Silberline employs over 450 people and had sales of about $80 million in 2022. It makes effect pigments for applications ranging from automotive coatings and printing inks to plastics, protective coatings and packaged consumer goods.

Solenis to expand in Virginia

Solenis is to invest $193 million to expand its operation in Suffolk, Virginia. It will build a 7,400 m2 production facility, packaging facility and tank farm for polyvinylamine (PVAm) polymers and a rail spur. This will create 34 jobs. PVAm polymers are mainly used in paper and cardboard manufacturing.

“As demand rises for sustainable manufacturing operations, this new facility not only ensures we have capacity to supply the paper packaging market, it will also help us diversify into other applications that can drive additional growth,” said CEO John Panichella. 

Vietnam plant for Ecolab

Ecolab has opened its new manufacturing plant in the Ho Nai Industrial Park, near Ho Chi Minh City. Covering 30,000 m2 and featuring a laboratory, manufacturing facility and warehouse, this will bring the company’s workforce in Vietnam to more than 100 and supply multiple industrial markets, including healthcare, building facilities, food and beverage processing, manufacturing, transportation, pulp and paper, microelectronics, petrochemicals and power generation.

BASF and Stena in black mass agreement

BASF and Swedish firm have entered into a black mass purchase agreement. This is described as part of a broader collaboration, with the goal of setting up a battery recycling value chain for the European electric vehicle (EV) battery market.

Subscribe to Current issue