Legal and Finance: Chemical Firms Find Formula of Success

The Birmingham Post (England), May 30, 2003 | Go to article overview

Legal and Finance: Chemical Firms Find Formula of Success


Byline: John Duckers

Engineering and metals businesses are among the companies in the West Midlands that have weathered the tough economic conditions across Europe in 2002 and in some cases prospered, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers 2003 Industrial Performance Monitor.

Factors including product innovation, successful research and development programmes and focus on growth markets have been essential to help chemical, engineering and machinery and metals companies prosper.

David Waller, chairman of PwC in the Midlands, said: 'Industrial product companies in the West Midlands would have undoubtedly faced a difficult time in 2002.

'Nonetheless, some companies have managed to rise above the pack. These companies have rec-ognised the need to actively put in place strategies to counter the adverse economic conditions and have developed a clear, marketoriented direction which is a critical first step towards better results.'

The European chemicals sector produced the best results of all sectors analysed in the report, with six countries producing positive returns.

Some of the best performing chemicals companies, which were nearly all specialty concerns, prospered by focusing on markets that are less dependent on economic conditions such as food production and pharmaceuticals. These markets benefit from sustained consumer demand across the cycle. Focusing on product innovation is another key successstrategy in the chemicals sector. With many companies now outsourcing specialty chemicals activities, those companies with a successful research and development function have tended to corner leading shares in profitable markets. …

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