Specialty chemicals
market overview

We are a major supplier of specialty chemicals with leading positions in selected market segments.

Market and business characteristics

The chemicals industry can be described as a value chain. Our businesses serve customers throughout the value chain with different products.

Our Industrial Chemicals business, for example, mines salt through vacuum extraction. It’s used as a raw material for our own activities and the European chlorine industry, as well as being an end product found in grocery stores under brand names such as Jozo and Nezo (Functional Chemicals).

Base chemicals are chemicals produced from raw materials. For us, this means products such as chlorine (Industrial Chemicals). Derived from these base chemicals are chemical intermediates, such as ethylene amines (Functional Chemicals) or chlorate (Pulp and Paper Chemicals).

Performance chemicals offer specific functionality to a product or process, examples being the surfactants used in fabric care softeners (Surface Chemistry) and the Compozil retention systems (Pulp and Paper Chemicals) used to make paper. Few of the products we supply are actual end products, with salt being the most prominent.

The strategy for each of our businesses varies depending on where they are in the value chain and which customers they serve. For example, in terms of geographic focus, Industrial Chemicals is mainly focused on Western Europe, with an emphasis on operational effectiveness.

Pulp and Paper Chemicals is a global business, with a specific emphasis on serving one industry. Surface Chemistry and Functional Chemicals are also global businesses, and primarily pursue a customer intimacy model for each specific product group.

Chemicals Pakistan, on the other hand, is a national business with a broad product offering within areas such as chemicals, coatings, fibers and pharmaceuticals.

Market and business characteristics (graphic)


Our products are used when producing a wide variety of everyday products such as ice cream, soups, disinfectants, plastics, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, paper and asphalt. There are more than 2,000 items in our portfolio.

Global market drivers and developments

  • Growing populations and GDP growth
  • Infrastructure developments
  • Building activities
  • Global paper and board production
  • Environmental regulations
  • Sustainability

High growth markets

Projected industry growth is strong, particularly in Asia Pacific and Brazil. More than 35 percent of revenue is in high growth markets.


  • Biodegradable products, aqueous cleaning formulations reducing use of organic solvents
  • Polymer-based chemicals on renewable feedstock, improving the efficiency of fabric softeners
  • Green alternative to NTA, phosphonates and phosphates
  • OneGrain technology – full salt replacement which brings pure NaCl and salt replacers into a single salt grain
  • More sustainable anti-caking agent for salt
  • Chemical Island concept for the pulp and paper industry
  • Nanoparticle retention systems for high speed paper machines
  • CiD technology to help increase PVC reactor capacity and safety
  • Water treatment technology replacing traditional biocides

Some key raw materials

  • Salt
  • Energy
  • Ammonia and ethylene
  • Acetic acid
  • Polymers
  • Sulfur

Price drivers

Energy, oil and other raw materials

Market leadership positions



Functional Chemicals


Ethylene amines


Sulfur products






Salt specialties
(North West Europe)


Anti-fouling agents


Organic peroxides




Cellulose derivatives


Building material additives


Metal alkyls


Polymer additives





Industrial Chemicals


Caustic lye merchant (Europe)


Chlorine merchant (Europe)


Monochloroacetic acid (MCA)


Salt (chemical transformation Europe)


Chloromethanes merchant (Europe)



Pulp and Paper Chemicals


Bleaching chemicals


Silica retention additives


Expandable microspheres


Colloidal silica dispersions



Surface Chemistry


Industrial applications


Agricultural applications


Home and personal care

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