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Chemical Industry

Chemical industry is one of India’s oldest industries, contributing significantly towards the industrial and economic growth of the nation. The Indian Chemical Industry forms the backbone of the industrial and agricultural development of India and provides building blocks for several downstream industries. According to the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, the Indian chemical industry is estimated to be worth approximately US$ 35 bn, which is about 3% of India’s total GDP. The total investment in the Indian chemical industry is approximately US$ 60 bn and total employment generated was about 1 mn. In terms of volume, it is 12th largest in the world and 3rd largest in Asia.

Exports of chemicals from India have increased significantly and account for about 14% of total exports and 9% of total imports of the country. The Indian chemical industry comprises both small and large-scale units. Fiscal concessions granted to the small sector in the mid-eighties led to the establishment of a large number of units in the Small Scale Industries (SSI) sector.

The major sub segments of this industry include alkali, organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, pesticides, dyes & dyestuffs and specialty chemicals. The Indian chemical industry deals in products like fertilizers, bromine compounds, catalyst, sodium and sodium compounds, dye intermediates, inks and resins, phosphorous, paint chemicals, coatings, isobutyl, zinc sulphate, zinc chloride, water treatment chemicals, organic surfactants, pigment dispersions, industrial aerosols and many more.

The commodity chemicals are the largest segment in the chemical market. Some of the major markets for chemicals are North America, Western Europe, Japan and emerging economies in Asia and Latin America. The Indian chemical industry is matured and is in the midst of a major restructuring and consolidation phase. Globalization has opened the doors for this sector to capture a major part of the global market pie.

The sector has experienced many reforms in India and is expected to grow at 15% p.a. in the near future. The investment in R&D will also play a vital role in this sector. In a nutshell, the Indian chemical industry has a large potential to grow in domestic as well as in export markets. In the current market conditions, with an appreciating rupee, pricing will be a crucial factor while competing with other exporting countries.

The ownership pattern of the chemical companies was inclined largely towards the private limited category that account for 69% of the total sample. It is followed by 11% of partnership firms indicating the huge gap between the largest and the second largest category in the sample. However, public limited entities account for 10% while 8% are proprietary concerns.

    53% of the private limited companies deal in organic chemicals, 9% deal in specialty chemicals while 15% are involved in inorganic chemicals
    58% of the public limited companies deal in organic chemicals
    77% companies from the sample are established before 1990 while 21% are established after 1990

Sub segment

Manufacturing of organic chemicals seems to be the most popular sub segment with around 34% of the sample companies involved in manufacturing of organic products. It is followed by 14% of the sample companies involved in the production of inorganic chemicals, 12% in specialty chemicals and 5% in dyes and dyes and dye stuffs. 35% of the companies dealing in other chemical sub segments that comprise of industrial gases, solvents etc display the high demand of products in this segment. 16% of the companies dealing in organic chemical s generate 100% of their revenue exclusively through the domestic market.

Nature of operations

79% of the companies are engaged exclusively in manufacturing, while 21% are engaged in manufacturing as well trading. 58% of the manufacturing companies have single manufacturing facility while 42% operate with two or more plants. 31% of the companies involved exclusively in manufacturing activity have invested up to Rs 50 mn in plant and machinery.

    18% of the companies utilise 100% of their installed plant capacity while 42% utilise between 70 - 99% of the installed capacity
    More than 75% of the companies involved exclusively in manufacturing activity operate at more than 50% of the capacity utilisation
    9% of the companies have their manufacturing facility situated in the heart of Mumbai city while 25% have their plants in the vicinity of Mumbai such as Dombivli, Kalyan, Ambernath and Badlapur area
    2% have their plants in the Navi Mumbai while 15% have their plants in Tarapur and Boisar

33% of the total sample companies showed more than 33% revenue growth in the last two years. 60% of the private companies accounted for the majority of revenue growth displaying more than 33% in the last two years.

Future plans

82% chemical companies have envisaged strategies for future growth. The plans range from capacity expansion, modernisation to new market entry and diversification.

    Companies operating in organic chemicals are keen for capacity expansion and diversification
    Of the companies interested in capacity expansion, 80% belong to the private limited category
    Of the companies interested in diversification, 65% are private limited companies

Benefits and hindrances

Out of the total respondents, 44% of the companies have benefited by cluster formation in terms of quality upgradation, 42% have benefited in manpower training while 40% and 28% of the companies are satisfied with infrastructure and technology respectively. Chemical companies in Mumbai cluster are facing the major impediment of environmental regulations, high cost of labour and land.

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