Scientific apparatus and glassware on laboratory bench awaiting Experiment Scientific apparatus and glassware on laboratory bench awaiting Experiment | © gettyImages / Andrew Brookes

Germany's Chemical Industry

Whether in the reinforcement of traditional industry products or the sustainable development of emerging technologies, Germany's chemical industry play a keystone role. Supported by world-renowned R&D institutes, knowledge laden graduates, and dependable supply-chains, Germany offer investors fertile ground for their product development and market integration within Europe’s largest economy. And all this at the center of a large market: the European Union.


The Industry in Numbers

As the European leader in chemical sales, exports, investment and R&D expenditure, Germany plays a decisive role in meeting global chemical demand. The chemical industry in Germany offers investors fertile ground for both production and product development within Europe's largest economy.

The German Chemical Industry in Numbers (2019)

Sales
(Source: chart 60b)
EUR 157 billion
Number 1 in Europe
Number 3 worldwide (behind China and USA)
Exports
(Chart 42b)

EU-28: 56%, European Non-EU: 15%, Asia: 16%, NAFTA: 8%, Latin America: 3%, Rest of world: 2%

R&D Expenditure
(Chart 48)

EUR 4.8 billion

Employees
(Chart 18b, 2018)

346,000 - thereof 160,000 in corporations with more than 1,000 employees

Companies
(Chart 18b, 2018)

2,878: 81% (1-99 employees), 17% (100-999 employees), 2% (>1,000 employees)

Source: VCI, Chemiewirtschaft in Zahlen 2020 (update: September 28, 2020)

Investments in the Chemical Industry in Germany

The European chemical industry’s declining share in the world market might seem alarming. However, sustained and significant investment activity in Germany signals a high level of global competitiveness, with basic chemicals surprisingly continuing to play a major role. Here you will find selected published investment activities in chemical industry production facilities in Germany.

Investments in the Chemical Industry in Germany [pdf]

Start-up

Company, Location

Chemical

New capacity or expansion (+) in tonnes/year

Investment

2022

BASF, Schwarheide

Cathode material for lithium-ion batteries

To equip 400,000 fully electric vehicles

€400m (estimated)

2022

UPM, Leuna

Biorefinery based on beech wood for the production of ethylene glycol (BioMEG), propylene glycol (BioPEG) and industrial sugar

220,000

€550m

2021

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Methanesulfonic acid (Lutropur®)

+65% in Ludwigshafen up to global capacity of 50,000

double-digit million € amount

2021

Ineos, Marl

Cumene

750,000

three-digit million € amount

2021

BASF, Ludwigshafen

1,6-Hexandiole (HDO)

+50% in Ludwigshafen up to global capacity of 70,000

NA

2021

Evonik, Marl

Polyamid 12 (VESTAMID®)

+50%

€400m

2020

Ciech, Staßfurt

Sodium hydrogen carbonate

110,000

€109m

2020

Evonik, Rheinfelden

Hydrophobic pyrogenic silica

+20%

double-digit million € amount

2020

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Vitamin A

+1,500 (+25%) up to global capacity of 7,500

NA

2020

Celanese, Höchst

Polyoxymethylene (POM)

+20,000

NA

2020

Nouryon, Höchst

Chlormethane

+30%

NA

2020

Grace, Worms

Colloidal silica (LUDOX®)

Capacity expansion

€80m

2020

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Alkylethanolamine

+20% in Ludwigshafen up to global capacity of 110,000

NA

2020

Clariant, Gendorf

Ethylene oxide

Capacity expansion

NA

2020

Covestro, Brunsbüttel

Methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI)

+220,000 to 420,000

€120m

2020

DOW, Bitterfeld und Bomlitz

Methylcellulose

+19,000 at the two sites

NA

2020

Lanxess, Krefeld-Uerdingen

Benzyl alcohol

+30%

double-digit million € amount

2019

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Acetylene

90,000

three-digit million € amount

2019

CABB, Gersthofen und Hürth

Chloracetic acid

Capacity expansion

double-digit million € amount

2019

Alzchem, Trostberg

Nitriles

Capacity expansion

€7.2m

2019

Lanxess, Krefeld-Uerdingen

Compounds of polyamide (Durethan®) and polybutylene terephthalate (Pocan®)

Capacity expansion

double-digit million € amount

2019

Perstorp, Arnsberg

Pentaerythritol

+12,5%

NA

2019

Arlanxeo, Dormagen

Chloroprene rubber

+70,000

NA

2018

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Neopor® (expandable polystyrene (EPS) with graphite particles)

+40,000 at the two sites Ludwigshafen and Ulsan (Korea)

NA

2018

Lanxess, Krefeld-Uerdingen

Zinc oxide

Capacity expansion through a 3rd production line

€9m

2018

Momentive Performance Materials, Leverkusen

3-Octanoylthio-1-propyltriethoxysilane (NXT-Silan)

Doubling of capacity

€32m

2018

Domo und Total, Leuna

Benzene extraction and further processing

€60m

2018

Evonik, Witten

special copolyester, DYNAPOL®

several thousand

double-digit million amount

2018

Sasol, Brunsbüttel

Aluminium hydroxide

+15,000

NA

2018

Evonik, Marl

polyamide 12-powder (VESTOSINT®)

Capacity expansion by 50%

double-digit million amount

2018

Evonik, Nouryon

Chlor-alkali electrolysis

82,000 chlorine and 130,000 potassium hydroxide       

NA

2017

Leuna-Harze, Leuna

Bisphenol A and Bisphenol F liquid epoxy resins

+30,000 to 70,000

€45m

2017

BASF, Schwarzheide

Ultramid (PA: polyamide) and Ultradur (PBT: polybutylene terephthalate)

+70,000 up to a global capacity of 700,000

NA

2017

CRI Catalyst, Leuna

Catalysts

+3,000

€30m

2017

Bayer CropScience, Hürth

Methane-phosphonic acid butyl ester

NA

€150m

2015

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Toluene di-isocyanate (TDI)

300,000

€1bn

2015

BASF, Ludwigshafen

World-scale plant for specialty amines, primarily dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA) and polyetheramines (PEA)

12,000

NA

2015

Evonik, Marl

But-1-ene

+ 75,000 up to global capacity of 310,000

€100m+

2015

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Complexing agent methylglycinediacetic acid (Trilon M)

Capacity expansion to a global capacity of 170,000

NA

2014

Bayer, Dormagen

Toluene di-isocyanate (TDI)

300,000

€150m

2014

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Vinylformamide (VFA)

Capacity expansion

€100m+

2014

Evonik, Marl

Liquid hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTBP)

+ 10,000 to 22,000

€50m+

2014

Hi-Bis, Bitterfeld

1,1-Bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-3,3,5-trimethylcyclohexane, Bisphenol-TMC, Raw material for Apec from Bayer MaterialScience

+ 5,000 to 10,000

€50m

2014

Mitsubishi Plastics, Wiesbaden

Aluminia composite material (AlpolicTM)

1,5 Mio. sqm

€17m

2014

Air Liquide, Dormagen

Steamreformer to produce crack gas from natural gas

120,000 CO and 22,000 H2

€100m

2013

AkzoNobel, Höchst

Chlor-alkali electrolysis

+ 165,000 to 250,000 chlorine and 275,000 sodium hydroxide

€140m

2013

Lanxess, Leverkusen

Cresols

+20%

€35m

2013

Covestro, Leverkusen

1,6-Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) and isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI)

Capacity expansion

€35m

2013

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Neopor expandable polystyrene (EPS)

+60,000 to 150,000

NA

2013

Evonik, Marl

Diisononyl cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate

40,000

double-digit million € amount

2013

Radici, Zeitz

Hexanedioic acid

+ 16,000 to 107,000

€18m

2013

LyondellBasell, Wesseling

Butadiene

+40% to 240,000

NA

2013

Lanxess, Dormagen

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymers

+30% to 15,000

NA

2013

DOMO Caproleuna, Leuna

Polyamide 6

50,000

€30m

2013

Kuraray, Höchst

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)

+24,000 to 94,000

€58m

2012

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Cristallinic salt of Hexanedioic acid and Hexane-1,6-diamine, AH-salt

24,000

NA

2012

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Polycaprolactame, PA6, Ultramid® B

+21,000

NA

2012

Styron, Schkopau

Styrene butadiene rubber, S-SBR, Sprintan™

+50,000 to 160,000

€91m

2012

Vinnolit, Burghausen

Paste PVC

+9,000 to 100,000

€9m

2012

Clariant, Hürth

Diethyl phosphinic acid aluminate salts, DEPAL, Exolit® OP

Doubling of capacity

CHF tens of millions

2012

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Methane sulfonic acid, Lutropur®

+10,000 to 30,000

NA

2012

Clariant, Straubing

Cellulosic ethanol via biocatalysis

1,000 tonnes ethanol from 4,500 tonnes straw wheat

€28m

2012

Sasol, Brunsbüttel

Triethylaluminium, TEA

6,000

NA

2012

LEUNA-Harze, Leuna

Chlor-Alkali-Elektrolyse und epichlorhydrin production

15,000 chlorine

€70m

2012

Wacker, Nünchritz

Polycristalline silicium

15,000

NA

2012

Lanxess, Krefeld-Uerdingen

Formaline (32%)

150,000

€18m

2012

Dyneon, Gendorf

New production line for fluoropolymers

60€m

2011

IAB, Bitterfeld

Lewabrane®

€30m

2011

OXEA, Oberhausen

2,2-Dimethyl-1,3-propanediol

Capacity expansion up to 45,000

NA

2011

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Ecoflex and Ecovio biopolymers

Ecoflex + 14,000 to 74,000

NA

2010

LyondellBasell, Münchmünster

High density polyethylene (HDPE)

320,000

NA

2010

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Low molecular weight polyisobutene (PIB)

+25,000 to 40,000

NA

2010

Covestro, Leverkusen

Pilot project for carbon nanotubes

200

€22m

2010

BASF, Ludwigshafen

Syngas

Expansion to around 1.4bn m3

€100m

2009

Evonik, Marl

2-Propylheptan-1-ol (2-HP)

60.000

€100m


M&A deals involving German Chemical Companies

After several years of excellent business, chemical companies are seeking non-cyclical growth segments. M&A activities - primarily in the small-volume specialty chemicals sector - have slowly altered the characteristics of the production landscape in the highly industrialized regions. Below please find selected M&A transactions carried out by German chemical companies to sharpen their portfolios.

M&A deals involving German Chemical Companies [pdf]

Date

Target, Country

Buyer, Country

Value

Business area

Nov-20        

Porocel, USA

Evonik, Germany

USD210m

Catalysts

Sep-20

BASF's Construction Chemicals Division, Germany

Lone Star, USA

€3.17bn

Construction Chemicals

Sep-20

DSM's coating resins business, The Netherlands

Covestro, Germany

€1.61bn

Coating resins

Aug-20

Lanxess's leather chemicals business, Germany

TFL Ledertechnik, Germany

€80-115m

Leather chemicals

Feb-20

PeroxyChem from One Equity Partners, USA

Evonik, Germany

USD640m

Speciality chemicals

Jan-20

Solvay's polyamide (PA 6.6) business, Belgium

BASF, Germany

€1.3bn

Plastics

Oct-19

Versum Materials, USA

Merck, Germany

€5.8bn

Materials for the electronic industry

Aug-19

BASF's global pigment business, Germany

DIC, Japan

€1.15bn

Pigments

Aug-19

Evonik's methacyrylate business, Germany

Advent International, USA

€3bn

Speciality chemicals

Dec-18

Arlanxeo (50% owned by Lanxess), Germany

Saudi Aramco (already holds 50%), Saudi Aramco

€1.4bn

Synthetic rubber

Aug-18

Bayer's agro business, Germany

BASF, Germany

€7.6bn

Agro business

Jun-18

Monsanto, USA

Bayer, Germany

USD63.5bn

Agrochemicals and seeds

Dec-16

Chemtura, USA

Lanxess, Germany

€2.4bn

Speciality chemicals

Dec-16

BASF's industrial coatings business, Germany

AkzoNobel, Belgium

€475m

Industrial coatings

Dec-16

Chemetall (Albemarle's global surface business), USA

BASF, Germany

USD3.2bn

Surface Treatment

Dec-16

J.M. Huber's silica business, USA

Evonik, Germany

USD630m

Silica business

Sep-16

Chemours's clean and desinfect business, USA

Lanxess, Germany

€210m

Desinfection chemicals

May-16

Air Product's specialty additives business, USA

Evonik, Germany

USD3.8bn

Additives

Jan-15

BK Guilini's water-, paper-, and alumine business (owned by ICL), Germany

Kurita, japan

€250m

Water-, paper-, and aluminium business

Nov-14

Styrolution (50% owned by BASF), Germany

Ineos (already holds 50%), UK

€1.1bn

Basic chemicals

Oct-14

Merck & Co's OTC drugs business, USA

Bayer, Germany

USD14.2bn

Pharma

Oct-14

Rockwood's TiO2 and additives business (formerly Sachtleben), Germany

Huntsman, USA

USD1bn

Basic/Speciality chemicals

Sep-14

Bergquist, USA

Henkel, Germany

NA

Adhesives for the electronic industry

May-14

AZ Electronic Materials, Luxemburg

Merck, Germany

€1.9bn

Speciality chemicals

Feb-14

Silbond, USA

Evonik, Germany

double-digit million € amount

Speciality chemicals

Dec-13

Oxea (Oxo chemicals), Germany

Oman Oil Company, Oman

€1.8bn

Speciality chemicals

Jan-13

Pronova BioPharma (Omega-3 fatty acids), Norway

BASF, Germany

€660m

Life Science

Sep-12

Becker Underwood, USA

BASF, Germany

USD1.02bn

Crop protection

May-11

DSM's elastomeres (EPDM) business, The Netherlands

Lanxess, Germany

€310m

Speciality chemicals

Apr-11

Süd-Chemie, Germany

Clariant, Switzerland

CHF2.5bn

Speciality chemicals

Dec-10

Cognis, Germany

BASF, Germany

€3.1bn

Speciality chemicals, nutritional ingridients

Apr-09

Ciba, Switzerland

BASF, Germany

CHF6.1bn

Speciality chemicals

Mar-08

National Starch (former ICI), USA

Henkel, Germany

GBP3.7bn

Adhesives

Jul-06

Degussa's Construction Chemicals Division, Germany

BASF, Germany

€2.7bn

Construction Chemicals

Jun-06

Engelhard, USA

BASF, Germany

USD5.2bn

Catalysts

Jun-06

Schering, Germany

Bayer, Germany

€17bn

Pharma

Jul-05

Sigma-Aldrich, USA

Merck, Germany

USD17bn

Life Science


Publications & Downloads

The Chemical Industry in Germany Industry Overview The Chemical Industry in Germany | © GTAI

Industry Overview: The Chemical Industry in Germany

Germany’s chemical industry is number one in Europe.








Fact Sheet: Chemical Parks iin Germany Fact Sheet: Chemical Parks iin Germany | © GTAI

Fact Sheet: Chemical Parks in Germany
Opportunities for Chemicals Producers

As a chemical production and associated process industries location, Germany is a global heavyweight, ranking first in Europe.





 


Market Opportunities

Stable and Sustained Growth

During the period 1960 to 2010, chemical industry revenue in Germany increased from EUR 12 to EUR 171 billion (according to Feri AG and the German Chemical Industry Association – VCI); resulting in an average nominal growth rate of 5.4% per year (real growth rate: 3.1%). Over the same period, the number of employees decreased from 458,000 to 415,000; increasing productivity sixteen-fold indicated by revenue per employee levels of EUR 412,000 in 2010.

Global Production Leader

When it comes to chemical production locations, Germany is a global heavyweight, ranking first in Europe. With 2018 turnover of EUR 157 billion (VCI), the German chemical industry played a leading role in European performance, generating almost 30 percent of total EU-28 sales of EUR 577 billion. Germany has occupied the world number three spot in global chemical revenue ranking for a number of years, being surpassed only by China (EUR 1,488 billion) and the US (EUR 505 billion) in 2018.

New Markets

“New” raw materials and energy and mobility: these 21st century megatrends offer enormous opportunities for Europe’s technology-driven chemical industry. Germany in particular will play a leading role in shaping these trends, thanks to the strong interdisciplinary character of German industry. This capability is vital, as cross-sector technologies and the development of new materials are an absolute necessity.

From Commodities to Specialties

The development away from mass commodity or bulk chemistry to fine & specialty chemical production can be best observed using a “push-and-pull” model. As a result of high cost pressure, the low-margin equipped mass commodity chemistry is increasingly pushed into the raw materials processing countries. At the same time, Europe has access to the necessary technologies and know-how required in the constantly growing specialty chemicals market. Europe, with Germany at the forefront, is proving very attractive to the specialty chemical industry.

Please contact us for more information on the German chemical industry or for an individual project assessment.

Register for Germany Trade & Invest's Callback Service

Investment Climate

Plug & Play Production Concept: Chemical Parks

Today, the “plug & play” concept is widely understood and appreciated. Sites (i.e. chemical parks) commonly offer a comprehensive range of services which are customized to the needs of prospective international or domestic investors. The major benefits to both the site operator or owner and the investor are shared site overheads for increased cost effectiveness. Chemical parks offer a wide range of flexible business models which are attractive for potential investors. Subject to their individual requirements, investors can simply buy or lease land from the site owner in order to establish their own production unit. At the other end of the scale, the business model might consist of a site operator investing in and operating new plant for the investor on a custom or toll-manufacturing basis.

Chemical Infrastructure: Pipeline Network

The major chemical carbon source, crude oil, is distributed by an advanced net of pipelines. Twelve refineries (with a total capacity of about 100 million tons per year – equivalent to 3% of global capacity) and eight steam crackers supply Germany’s chemical industry with all of the necessary building blocks. Of the 145 million tons of chemicals transported annually in Germany, 36% are transported by pipeline. Major chemical sites are interconnected through pipelines that transport raw materials such as ethylene within the country and via Belgium and the Netherlands to neighboring chemical production centers and Europe’s northwestern seaports. There are also hydrogen, carbon monoxide and oxygen pipelines between chemical parks with a specialized production focus.

Energy Security: Low Power Outages in the World

The security of Germany’s electricity supply is very high by international standards. In marked contrast to the US and other countries in Europe where major blackouts are recurrent, power outages are definitely the exception in Germany. The average amount of time lost to blackouts in the US is nearly four hours per year and in Spain two hours per year. Italy and the UK suffer from outages of around 80 minutes per year. However, these all exceed the German average of just 40 minutes per year.

Research & Development: Cutting-Edge Infrastructure

About 22,000 employees work in the German chemical industrial R&D units with annual industry R&D expenditure amounting EUR 4.6 billion. Industry R&D efforts are complemented by institutional R&D. Publicly funded research units of the Max-Planck Society, the Frauenhofer Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association, and the Leibniz Association undertake R&D in close cooperation with the industry; often taking place within Germany's unique chemical cluster network infrastructure. The unique combination of industrial and institutional R&D represents an immensely valuable source of capacity for international companies. Thanks to institutional research’s privileging of practical expertise, project-oriented cooperation between industry and institutions is commonplace – ensuring that Germany's chemical industry remains at the international cutting edge.

Workforce and Training: Unique Training System

Germany's chemical industry has a highly trained workforce of more than 360,000 employees. As in other German industry sectors, a unique training system provides the industry with skilled workers according to the company's needs via the vocational or “dual” training system. This enables young employees to specialize on chemical laboratory work, product development or production from the age of 16 onward. This system is accompanied by bachelor and master programs in chemistry offered nationwide (about 50 universities offer classical master degrees in chemistry supplemented by chemical engineering, biochemistry etc.). As well as this, 14 universities of applied sciences offer programs in chemistry. The combination of vocational and advanced training is pivotal to the success of the German chemical industry.

Please contact us for more information on the German chemical industry or for an individual project assessment.

Register for Germany Trade & Invest's Callback Service

Our References

Sunstar Engineering Europe GmbH - Yoshihiro Nakata, Managing Director

Yoshihiro Nakata, Managing Director, Sunstar Engineering Europe GmbH Yoshihiro Nakata, Managing Director, Sunstar Engineering Europe GmbH | © Sunstar Engineering Europe GmbH/GTAI

“The investment in Germany is an integral part of our global strategy for our adhesives and sealants. Due to the highly qualified workers and efficient cost structure, on top of Germany’s leading position in the field of automotive expertise, Germany was the clear choice for our new production, European headquarter and R&D activities”. (2017)





Air Liquide Germany Ltd. - Thomas Pfützenreuter, Chairman

Thomas Pfützenreuter, Vorsitzender der Geschäftsführung, AIR LIQUIDE Deutschland GmbH Thomas Pfützenreuter, Vorsitzender der Geschäftsführung, AIR LIQUIDE Deutschland GmbH | © AIR LIQUIDE Deutschland GmbH/GTAI

"'Location Germany’ is of great importance to Air Liquide. The German market is the most important pillar for our company in Europe after France. We invest around EUR 100m in Germany every year. On top of that are large projects such as the new Steam Reformer in Dormagen, while we are also busying ourselves with future projects such as the expansion of the hydrogen fuel station network." (2014)



DYMAX Corporation - A. Gregory Bachmann, President

A. Gregory Bachmann, President of DYMAX Corporation A. Gregory Bachmann, President of DYMAX Corporation | © DYMAX Corporation/GTAI

“Europe is a growing market for our light-curing adhesives. Due to the highly qualified workers and efficient cost structure, Germany was the clear choice for the expansion of our production and R&D activities.” (2011)

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