According to Chemical & Engineering News’ (C&EN) 2017 capital and R&D spending survey, chemical companies cut R&D expenditure costs last year. Comprised of data from 19 leading chemical companies in the UK and Europe, the firms collectively decreased R&D spending by 5.2% to $9.7 billion, which includes cutbacks on construction, infrastructure and equipment spending. Specifically, spending for new plants and equipment fell 15.3% to $18.6 billion. C&EN data for 18 of the 19 companies spans a 10-year period, and according to their estimates, R&D spending for the 18 companies has increased marginally more than 1% over the last decade, while R&D budgets increased by 21% without taking inflation into account. R&D as a percentage of sales, however, increased to 3.5% in 2016, the highest figure it has been at in the past decade.

BASF, 3M, DuPont, Dow Chemical and Evonik Industries were the top 5 companies with the highest R&D spending, with expenditures of $2.06 billion, $1.74 billion, $1.64 billion, $1.58 billion and $485 million, respectively. Celanese, W.R. Grace, Albemarle, DuPont and Eastman Chemical had the largest decreases in R&D spending from 2015, with expenditures dropping 34.5%, 29.6%, 22.3%, 13.5% and 12.7%, respectively. Solvay was a distinct anomaly in the group of companies surveyed, as the company’s R&D spending jumped 10.1% in 2016.

Source: C&EN


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