Asian chemical companies recovered rapidly from the economic crisis in 2008, and the top 10 enterprises in the world all rose.
Sinopec has maintained its position as the largest chemical enterprise in Asia and has risen four places to become the fourth largest chemical enterprise in the world.
The state-owned enterprise has a series of new projects to complete in the next few years, so it has the ability to further improve. It is estimated that Sinopec’s cracking capacity will reach nearly 2.45 million tons per year in the next four years.
After the merger of its subsidiary Lotte Daesan petrochemical in 2009, South Korea’s Honam Petrochemical almost doubled its sales and entered the global top 100 list dramatically. The company has become the seventh largest chemical company in Asia.
Honam aims to become “Asia’s top chemical company” with sales of 40 trillion won (US $33.96 billion) by 2018. The company’s recent acquisition of the Malaysian petrochemical giant is a step in this direction. In addition to expanding capacity in South Korea, the company plans to make more acquisitions in the region. The company is also involved in a biscuit project in Uzbekistan.
As part of its second refinery project, the launch of a new polypropylene (PP) plant helped Reliance Industries increase sales by 20% last year to No. 20 in the global rankings. After failing to acquire Lyondell Basel industries in the Netherlands, the Indian company has embarked on an ambitious expansion plan, including the construction of a new cracker and a number of derivative plants at Jamnagar on India’s west coast.
Formosa Chemicals & fiber Corp. and Formosa Plastics Corp., two Taiwanese companies on the list, saw sales fall last year, but remain among the top 10 in Asia. They are concentrating on expanding their business in mainland China and Vietnam, as they are facing restrictions on expanding Taiwan bases. In Taiwan, a strong environmental lobby is opposed to new chemical investment.
Petronas, the ninth largest Petronas company, also saw a decline in sales last year. But Sinopec’s position should improve as the state-owned oil giant re focuses on downstream business. In July, the company decided to spin off its petrochemical business and list on the Malaysian stock exchange by the end of 2010. In September, the company agreed to buy shares of BP in ethylene Malaysia and polyethylene in Malaysia, further strengthening its position as the largest chemical company in Malaysia.
Thailand’s cementhai chemicals (SCG chemicals) slipped one place to become the 10th largest chemical company in Asia, and PTT Chem continued to “squeeze into” the top 10. But once the new project is fully operational, the two companies will see sales growth next year. These projects have been affected by the mAb TA phut crisis recently resolved by the Thai government.