In the UK chemicals sector there are high barriers to get into a successful team, while the industry shows a solid performance in Slovakia.
European football championship 2016
Sector playing field: chemicals industry
Slovakia: a good performance expected to continue
Overall the Slovakian chemicals industry registered increasing demand. The rubber and plastics subsectors are benefitting from robust demand from the automotive industry, while performance of agribusiness-related chemicals segments and pharmaceuticals has been stable. After increasing profit margins in 2015, profitability of chemicals businesses is expected to level off in H1of 2016.
Financing requirements and gearing are both high in the industry. Chemical producing companies are forced to carry high fixed assets, which are quite often financed with bank loans. The current low interest rates provide some relief to those companies.
England: high barriers to get into the successful team
The demand situation for the British chemicals sector is generally solid, however exports to the EU have been impacted by the strong British pound. The majority of companies within the sector are mature, with a stable customer base. Therefore profit margins should remain stable. High entry barriers protect the industry due to the required high capital expenditure. However, high energy costs (e.g. electricity) in the UK are an issue for the industry. At the same time competition from low cost producers in Asia is increasing.
A large number of chemicals businesses are financed through asset based finance. In most instances profit levels are able to cover the interest adequately. Bank financing facilities are adequate, and business refinancing does not appear to be a problem.
Players to watch
The specialty chemicals subsector has higher added value and faces less competition in the market than other segments. Lower raw material prices should help to influence the performance positively.
In the basic chemicals segment an individual assessment of businesses is necessary, as many face capacity problems and subdued demand is an issue.
While the basic chemicals segment is exposed to commodity price volatility, profitability levels are expected to remain adequate. All chemicals subsectors benefit from the high entry barriers in this industry.
Competition remains fierce in the pharmaceutical household products/cosmetics subsector as this is traditionally a low margined segment, serving the retail/wholesale sector. Health Service budget cuts impact growth in the pharmaceutical goods sector.
Major strengths and weaknesses
Slovakian chemicals industry: strengths
British chemicals industry: strengths
- Closeness to core buyers (e.g. automotive industry)
- Stable business relationships
- Some segments were able to improve margins following a decrease in input costs
- High entry barriers
- Mature businesses
- No major financing issues
- Low level of insolvencies
- Good payment track record
Slovakian chemicals industry: weaknesses
British chemicals industry: weaknesses
- High investments in research and development are necessary
- Dependence on external financing
- Decreased producer prices
- Increasing competition from Asia
- Exporters are affected by currency volatility
- Some subsectors have low profit margins
- Increasing competition from Asia and the US
- Exposed to commodity price volatility
Fair play ranking: payment behaviour and insolvencies
Slovakian chemicals industry
Payment duration in the chemicals sector ranges between 30 days and 60 days.
Payment behaviour is generally stable, and non-payment notifications are not expected to increase in the coming months.
Chemicals business insolvencies are rather low compared to other industries. No major increase is expected in the coming six months.
British chemicals industry
On average, payments in the British chemicals sector take between 60 days and 90 days.
Payment experience has been very good over the past couple of years, and the level of protracted payments is low
The number of non-payment cases was low in 2015, and this positive trend is expected to continue in 2016.
The level of insolvencies in the chemicals sector has been very low over the past couple of years, and this is expected to remain unchanged in H2 of 2016.