The global chemical industry faces turbulence both on the supply side, from increasingly scarce and thus more costly feedstocks, and on the demand side, where specialty chemicals and developing countries present growth opportunities. Bain brings deep chemical market experience and the ability to draw lessons from other industries that have experienced similar pressures and possibilities.
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Bain experts have undertaken projects across the chemicals industry, covering all major subsectors, in every region including the following areas:
- Petrochemicals, organic base chemicals and intermediates
- Inorganic base chemicals
- Polymers and plastics
- Specialty and performance chemicals
- Fine chemicals
- Industrial biochemicals/biomaterials
The chemicals industry continues to face unparalleled market and competitive turbulence. Low-cost players and feedstocks are changing the fundamental economics of the industry in unexpected ways, forcing established competitors to rethink their existing footprint and operating models. Dynamic end markets, shifting profit pools and highly variable demand are leading companies to reevaluate time-tested strategies. And all of this is occurring at a pace that leaves little time for managers to reflect on their options.
Companies have responded with a variety of growth and defensive strategies: some have shed traditional lower-margin operations in favor of new markets or products, other companies have pursued wrenching cost reductions to ensure near-term profitability and some have simply retreated from the market either through sale or bankruptcy. Still other organizations have moved aggressively to drive top-line growth by doubling down on serving their best customers to gain share, shifting asset portfolios to attractive future markets and building new go-to-market capabilities.
This turmoil is painful, and the results of these efforts have been mixed. Companies that have been successful in increasing revenue and profits focused on the development of core businesses to their full potential and conducted selective expansion into attractive adjacencies.