It is often the case that consultancies act as a weather vane for the health of the chemical and related industries. If the industry is doing well, consultancies tend to thrive. We all know that since Q4 2008 all has not been well in the chemical sector and the economy in general. But now….now we at least are getting to see some “green shoots” of economic recovery. Companies who had frozen all discretionary spending over the past year or so are now coming out of their bunkers and beginning to talk again about projects previously put on hold. Things are still a little delicate and cautious. Some enquiries are still asking, “How much would it cost to…?”, “What if we wanted to do this…?”, and “How can we get growth after such a period of stagnation…?” Some are actually signing off and going ahead with projects, while others are holding their fire until the next quarter results. Petrochemical companies have been particularly cautious to spend any money at all.
I talk to a lot of CEOs and senior business developers. Hot areas seem to be solar energy/photovoltaics, biotech, bio-based chemicals and polymers, green chemistry, and general sustainability. Many have read or heard a lot about these areas, and the questions often asked are “How can we participate in this sector? Where? What kind of volume/value business can we expect and after how long?”Continue reading