Future of chemicals III: The commoditization of specialty chemicals

Published: May 18, 2010

Executive summary

As the specialty chemical sector fights to stave off the deleterious influence of commoditization — a losing struggle for many businesses — it is becoming increasingly clear that a large number of companies in the industry have failed to manage and nurture their business models well enough. Specialty chemical businesses are dependent on innovation and a continuous pipeline of “real” innovative products and applications. But research and development funds have dried up, and new molecular discoveries are increasingly rare. Few specialty chemical companies have demonstrated the ability or nimbleness to adjust to the new, much more difficult realities in the industry, and it is little surprise that the specialty chemical sector is rapidly shrinking and searching for a clear direction. How well these companies adopt one of three business models will determine success or failure for individual outfits and the industry as a whole.

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Future of chemicals III: The commoditization of specialty chemicals

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