Chemicals

40 Years of Experience Within the Industry

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Since 1977, SAI has established itself as a leading international business consulting firm serving all aspects of the specialty, fine and basic/commodity chemical industry sectors. In addition, SAI has analyzed all the major end-use markets for chemicals globally. During our almost 40 years of experience, we have developed the knowledge base and expertise to help explore your growth opportunities, address challenges, analyze acquisition and partnership strategies, and make critical management decisions moving forward. Our team has many years of both industry and consulting experience, technical and advanced business degrees, and global presence and insights to help you succeed in the chemicals industry.

SAI has extensive experience in commodity chemicals, which are important building blocks in making paints and coatings, textile products, plastics, adhesives, water management chemicals and myriads of other downstream intermediates and formulated products. SAI’s databases of over 30,000 companies and 90,000 industry contacts cover:

  • End uses
  • Applications
  • Processes
  • Chemistries

Functionally, SAI’s studies have included:

  • Acquisition and joint venture
  • Business cycle analysis (Economics, pricing, profitability etc.)
  • Competitor and benchmarking analyses
  • Manufacturing cost economics
  • Global competitiveness/global trade
  • Market image
  • Technology assessment

Our extensive project work has provided SAI with an invaluable understanding of the global commodity chemical industry

CASE EXAMPLE: COMMODITY CHEMICALS - CHINA

OBJECTIVE:

For a chemical company, SAI undertook a focused survey of existing and potential customers about technical service related issues

APPROACH: 

SAI benchmarked the services of the client against those of its notable competitors for various criteria including quality of technical service, responsiveness, innovation, knowledgeablity and overall performance

RESULTS: 

The insights developed allowed the client to assess its strengths and weaknesses and to focus its improvement efforts

CASE EXAMPLE: ETHYL ALCOHOL – ASIA

OBJECTIVE: 

SAI’s client is a prominent international group involved in producing and trading ethyl alcohol.  The client was interested in moving a part of its distillation capacity to Asia by acquiring existing facilities of a distillery owner. A key selection criterion for the client was that the facility should be in close proximity to a Class A certified port

APPROACH: 

SAI conducted over 125 interviews with key participants, including equipment suppliers, customers, competitors, current and former employees, regulatory authorities, associations, and other knowledgeable sources. SAI then approached executives in the identified plants to understand the individual capabilities of each plant. SAI also approached the corporate headquarters and met with the distillery owners to gauge their interest in selling their distilleries

RESULTS: 

SAI enabled the client to identify the most suitable distilleries in terms of efficiency and logistics–proximity to nearest Class A certified port and distillery owners’ interest in selling their facilities.  Based on SAI’s recommendations, the client initiated discussions with four distilleries

SAI has conducted numerous studies that provide a firm understanding of the different characteristics of the fine and custom chemical business. With over 500 firms participating in the various end-use segments, SAI’s staff understands that the approach to product positioning varies from high value to low value.

SAI’s expertise encompasses the major categories of fine chemicals, including bulk pharmaceuticals, technical-grade intermediates for agricultural chemicals, vitamins, food additives, photographic chemicals and so forth

CASE EXAMPLE: PHARMACEUTICAL EXCIPIENTS - CHINA

OBJECTIVE: 

SAI undertook a large international study to analyze the pharmaceutical excipient market in China in order to assess potential business opportunities for a client

APPROACH:

SAI conducted 450 interviews to develop quantitative market data, including revenue and volume data (segmented by geography and excipient type) and industry growth rates (empirical and forecasted).  The study also qualitatively assessed the competitive landscape in each region—i.e. market drivers, threats, existing competitors, entry barriers to new competitors and unfulfilled market needs.  As part of the analysis, SAI profiled potential partnership candidates with established operations in China.  With these insights, the client was able to strategically position itself within the global marketplace.  This study and other SAI studies like this, are opening new doors to a rapidly developing world economy that is demanding the evolution of traditional business models

RESULTS:

Key recommendations for the client included:

  • Developing value proposition in China with focused product portfolio
  • Preparing “spec-in” at customer level with established credentials
  • Penetrating middle-range market segment
  • Establishing partnership with selected/identified Chinese partners
CASE EXAMPLE: CHEMICAL INTERMEDIATES - ASIA

OBJECTIVE: 

A leading global producer of acids and alcohols wanted to develop an understanding of the market in China, India and Taiwan for its NVA (Non-vinyl alcohols) and NDA (NEO Acid) products

APPROACH: 

SAI developed the required information and analysis by completing approximately 300 in-depth interviews mainly with formulators and end users of the target products across China, India and Taiwan

RESULTS: 

SAI developed detailed insights on the applications for the client’s target products.  End-use markets were analyzed in detail including surfactants, lubricants and fuel additives, polymer additives and neodecanoic acid and derivatives.  SAI also developed information on key competitors and potential customer opportunities for the client

SAI’s experience in the polymer industry ranges from raw materials to fabricated products to related equipment and processes. Each year, SAI successfully completes numerous assignments in the polymer industry worldwide

As a result of its voluminous project work, SAI maintains a network of useful contacts among polymer producers, distributors, compounders, fabricators, converters and end users globally

CASE EXAMPLE: PBT RESINS, COMPOUNDS AND BLENDS - CHINA

OBJECTIVE: 

SAI’s client, an established player in the Chinese market for PBT resins, compounds and blends, has been growing rapidly. To expand its PBT business in China, the client commissioned research to validate the overall market size, growth dynamics and identify areas for growth that are either currently unknown to the client or where it does not participate. Additionally, the client was interested in understanding the positioning of key competitors in this rapidly expanding market, the impact of EU RoHS and WEEE directives on PBT grade demand and the global and regional drivers of both domestic and export demand in end-use markets

APPROACH: 

SAI developed market assessment, competitor analysis and customer intelligence through 440 interviews with resin suppliers, compounders, injection molders, customers/end users and distributors in China

RESULTS:

  • Analyzed the demand of key segments such as electric/electronic, automotive and universal
  • Attractiveness of each segment
  • Developed key account profiles
  • Recommended key customers to target
  • Developed key competitor profiles
  • Competitive threats of each competitor
CASE EXAMPLE: MDI PRODUCTION - ASIA

OBJECTIVE:

A client required a market assessment for MDI production in Asia specifically to provide:

  • Quarterly updates on MDI import/export and production in major Asia Pacific countries
  • Information as to changes in asset size or new developments in this area

APPROACH: 

By interviewing MDI producers in Japan, China and Korea, SAI developed information and analysis for MDI production in Asia countries

RESULTS:

SAI provided the competitor analysis of major MDI producers in Japan, China and Korea including:

  • ž   Historical production volume
  • ž   Planned production volume
  • ž   Planned maintenance shutdowns
  • ž   Expansion plans
  • ž   Raw material sources

SAI also determined MDI production flow and swap deals in Asia

The client was able to reposition itself in the Asia MDI market

SAI has extensive experience globally in all major segments of the specialty chemical industry. As a core business area, the firm has had routine participation for over 30 years

SAI’s experience is broad-based, focusing on raw materials, processing, research and development, technical services, and end uses

CASE EXAMPLE: ACQUISITION PROFILES - CHINA

OBJECTIVE:

A multinational client with an acquisitive growth strategy in the chemical industry had identified several potential acquisition targets in Asia. SAI was approached to assist with providing in depth profiles of the two specialty chemicals companies in China identified by the client

APPROACH: 

SAI developed information and analysis through 180 interviews with key competitors, raw material suppliers, customers and other industrial participants in target market

RESULTS:

SAI provided in-depth profiles for each company, including

  • Company history and ownership
  • Organization structure and key management of headquarters and subsidiaries
  • Plant location, capacity and employees
  • Product lines (focusing on specific products selected by client)
  • Production and sales overview of the last three years: total and breakdown by product types
  • Product application segment
  • Key customers and their perception, customer service and support
  • Distribution channels for domestic and export sales
  • R&D
  • Financial information in recent years
  • General business strategies and objectives
  • Other associated operations
CASE EXAMPLE: FATTY ACIDS AND ALCOHOLS – ASIA

OBJECTIVE:

SAI analyzed the market for fatty acids and fatty alcohols in Asia

APPROACH:

Through interviews with oleochemical and surfactant producers, raw material suppliers, and major customers, SAI identified trends and developments within Northeast and Southeast Asia impacting raw material pricing and market supply and demand.  SAI learned that changes in manufacturing technology and raw material sourcing, including the use of natural-based fatty chemicals, will drive growth in the region

RESULTS:

SAI’s overall recommendations included further evaluation of upstream partners for raw material sourcing protection, as well as downstream opportunities to expand potential customer access both within the region and internationally