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From uncertainties to opportunities

The chemical industry is undergoing a phase of structural transformation. In a challenging macroeconomic environment, demand for chemicals has declined, and overall growth rates are declining. At the same time, increasing pressure through commoditization, emerging new competition and potentially disruptive changes from digitization or feedstock shifts, impose new challenges on chemical companies.

But opportunities remain: driven by changes in technology, regulations, and consumer preferences in both developed and emerging markets. In turbulent times, we are ready with practical assistance to help you prepare for, respond to, and emerge stronger from crisis. Find out more information on COVID-19 and the Chemicals sector.

Our Chemicals practice helps players across the value chain to navigate this changing landscape and address industry-specific challenges.

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The future of the chemicals industry: A capabilities perspective (Strategy&, a part of the PwC network)


The combination of the coronavirus crisis and the oil price crash has meant a very differential impact on the chemicals sector. Companies with upstream business models that depend on an oil price at moderate levels have been hit hard. Depending on their end-market, companies with more downstream product positions have fared better. Some chemical segments have even had a boom in sales, for example those producing  disinfectants, antiseptics and personal protection materials. PwC can help you:

  • Appraise strategic options for derisking business models and reduce supply chain risk
  • Toughen up business and financial resilience measures so they are ready for future uncertainties
  • Accelerate further your digital transformation and automation journey
  • Embed the positive lessons of the pandemic into new and more efficient ways of working
  • Consider and deliver on mergers and acquisitions opportunities

Digital & Industry 4.0

Technology is transforming the industry and while the chemical sector has not been at the forefront of digitization, companies are realizing the disruptive power and potential of technology and entering the era of Industry 4.0.

The cloud, predictive maintenance, big data for quality and throughput optimization, platforms for closer customer interaction, blockchain, 3D printing and open innovation – to name a few, offer opportunities for new business models and potential for growth.

We work with chemical companies to reimagine and capture digital opportunities and strengthen the performance of existing digital assets. Our PwC Digital Service team can assist in aligning multiple technology solutions and enhance business value by creating strong capabilities, developing realistic business cases, simplifying your system architecture and reducing cost. Our Strategy&'s Digital Services can assist on overall digital strategy and innovation.

On the cyber safety front, we have conducted many investigations, identified thousands of vulnerabilities and developed forensic tools that help protect your business asse

Growth & Innovation

Chemical companies face a formidable challenge: delivering profitable growth in a hypercompetitive, low-growth world.  Understanding megatrends, end-market and industry dynamics as well as external factors like regulatory changes, and understanding their impact on the chemical business, is vital to defining the right strategic path. Combining this with a clear perspective on what capabilities define a company’s competitive advantage, players can redefine their future “right to win” in the market place. Embracing innovation beyond pure products, and moving into new business models in the chemicals ecosystem are crucial enablers for future growth.

Our Strategy& team builds tailored solutions for tackling the full range of strategic and competitive challenges. Our teams help clients energize their strategic debate, envision the future, set clear expectations, develop and implement appropriate strategies

Deals & Transactions

In the era of changing industry dynamics, chemical companies need to rethink their deal and partnership strategies. The set of mega-deals in recent years demonstrated the disruptive power of new players – and more transactions are expected in the future.

Many companies are reviewing their portfolios, not just to capture additional growth opportunities, but to obtain access to new technologies, capabilities or whole new innovative business models.

Our team can guide you to navigate the increasingly diverse field of partnering and transaction opportunities. Our comprehensive commercial, financial, economic and strategic advice can support to deliver your strategic objectives. We have access to an unmatched global network, and can help you identify local and international alliance and acquisition opportunities, create new ventures, invest in consortiums, acquire competitors, and buy or sell specific assets.

We have a track record for seamless end-to-end support along the entire deal life cycle, strong relationships, high levels of independence and the successful implementation of the transactions we work 


To increase profitability, strengthen organizational agility, fight stagnating growth or adapt to new ownership structures, companies need to implement restructuring through strategic, operational and financial transformation.

PwC teams across the network bring experience in supporting the transformation path end-to-end, along with tools to support this process. We support successful implementation of business models, and consider all significant levers leading to long term sustainable value creation, competitive advantage and embedded change.

Our Fit-for-Growth (FFG) approach is a proven methodology helping companies to strategically manage their costs and free up resources for strategic investments resulting in lasting financial improvement, increased competitiveness and sustainable growt

Functional Excellence

Functional excellence can ensure superior performance in a hyper-competitive industry. By optimizing each functional role and their interaction among others, synergies can be leveraged leading to a boost in value creation and profit generation.

Digitization has the potential for a step change: Technology supported smart functions hold efficiency and effectiveness potential that is largely still untapped.

Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting practice can help to build true functional excellence throughout all business and support functions, from “Procurement 4.0” to digital HR or the Future of Finance

Our  approach focusses on aligning front-end and back-end functions as well as providing a tailor made toolkit for the whole organization

Network Optimization

The potential of network optimization to enhance the power and agility of the global chemicals production footprint, material flows, and global value chain synergies is clear.

Successful companies take advantage of smart supply chains and logistics networks to deliver both cost savings and increased reliability for customers. If combined with tailored tax management and risk optimized business models, the overall business performance can be enhanced by magnitudes.

PwC’s Strategy& is the specialist in developing and implementing leading supply chain and operations strategies in combination with PwC’s capabilities in the area of tax, legal or risk managemen


Chemical players strive to embed sustainability into their business model DNA. Creating transparency on the overall operating footprint is increasingly linked to their social license to operate, and a credible sustainability agenda can enhance company value and amplify stakeholder returns.

PwC's Sustainability practice helps companies become more resilient, agile and sustainable through detailed planning, reasoned sourcing, green sales and innovative financing. We support organizations to measure the wider impact of their products and services that can enable them to future-proof their businesses.

We have a proven track record of guiding companies through issues concerning sustainability, working with all types of clients including corporate, private equity and public sector. 

Strategy& Chemicals trends 2019

PwC’s Chemicals trends 2020 - Winning strategies for an era of sustainable value chains

Value chains in the chemicals sector are being reconfigured as sustainability, economic and geopolitical shifts, new technologies and changing consumer demands are challenging companies’ bottom line and future profitability. COVID-19 has added even more complexity, causing significant shifts in supply and demand.

Read more about Chemicals sector trends


Contact us

Jeroen Van Hoof

Jeroen Van Hoof

Global Leader, EU&R and P&U, Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31-88-7921328

Olesya Hatop

Olesya Hatop

Global EU&R Clients & Markets Industry Executive, Director, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 211 981 4602

Volker Fitzner

Volker Fitzner

Global Leader, Chemicals, Partner, PwC Germany