The chemical industry had a robust 2017, with the global top 50 companies in the sector bringing in combined sales of $851.0 billion, a 12.2% jump. This is a welcome reprieve from 2015 and 2016, in which the global top 50 companies reported declines in sales. The sales growth in 2017 is largely attributed to increasing oil prices as well as a healthy economy.

Not one company in the global top 50 lost money in 2017, and only 13 companies reported decreases in profit. Generally, combined profitability for the top 50 companies rose 14.4%, reaching $108.6 billion. While the chemical industry is poised for another successful year, the threat of US-China tariffs could negatively affect the industry, specifically US petrochemical product manufacturers.

BASF topped the list of the global top 50 chemical companies, bringing in sales of $69.2 billion in 2017, an 11.8% rise. DowDuPonte and Sinopec reported sales of $62.5 billion and $55.3 billion, respectively, while SABIC and Ineos had respective sales of $37.6 billion and $34.6 billion, rounding out the top 5.

In terms of capital spending, BASF spent $3.8 billion, a 45.0% decrease, although the company was still the largest among the top 50 in capital spending. DowDuPont spent $3.6 billion, a 6.2% decline. Sasol, Sinopec and ExxonMobil rounded out the top 5 with capital spending of $3.6 billion, $3.4 billion and $3.3 billion, respectively.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News

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