Market Analysis - Global Chemistry 2018
The Chemical Industry, including the activities classified as NACE 20, represents about 5% of the GDP of the total Portuguese industry.
Compared with the others sectors, the Chemical Industry has an important role as exporter.
During the last years this sector has kept a good position in the ranking of the exporters, with a stable value of about 12% of the Portuguese export sales.
In 2016 exports of chemical, plastics and rubber products reached the value of €6.5 billion.
Against 2015, this value increased 3.3%.
Struture of the chemical industry in Portugal
In 2016 there were about 790 companies included in CAE 20. Most of companies classified as chemical industries were small and micro companies, mostly operating in the area of the consumption products.
Larger operators are involved in activities such as basic chemicals, fertilizers, petrochemicals, polymers and, with less importance, fibers and specialties. There is also a small but dynamic group of companies in the fine chemicals area with its own know-how and a significant contribution to exports.
Number and size of chemical companies
NACE 20 – Manufacture of chemicals, chemical products and man-made fibres, except pharmaceutical products.
Location of the main chemical industry hubs
Geographically, the chemical industry in Portugal is mostly located in two defined chemical industry hubs in Estarreja and Sines, and in the industrialized areas of Lisbon and Oporto.
Portugal, being a peripheral country in Europe, is well placed in relation with other continents – North America, South America and Western and Northern coast of Africa.
T The chemical industry in Portugal is supported by the availability of competences at the
d ifferent levels, at reasonable costs. There are good chemical engineering schools and the research in the universities has been improving considerably during the last 15 years.
CONTRIBUTION TO A COMPETITIVE EUROPE
The segment of chemical specialties for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals has been quite dynamic in Portugal during the last years. The number of companies in this segment is limited, but their growth, both in terms of number of patents, production and employment, has been quite substantial. The cost of energy and the difficulties of financing are not relevant for this segment, which supports its ability to grow in the development of know-how and in the availability of qualified human resources at reasonable costs.
Production of Nano-materials is being developed in Portugal, with one company already able to offer products based on its own proprietary and unique technology. Additionally, the Iberian Nanotechnology Lab, located in the north of Portugal, with its state of the art facilities and top researchers from all over the world is expected to drive the widespread of nanotechnology throughout the industrial landscape.
The segments related with forest products should also be watched. Portugal has an extensive area covered by pine and eucalyptus woods which support developed industries of cellulose, paper and wood based panel production. These industries induce the development of several segments of chemicals. For instance, they justify the existence of plants of Urea formaldehyde resins and they are important consumers of the chlor-alkali products. Related with the pine woods, there are some chemical companies producing derivatives of the resins, which are quite competitive in the external market.