Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2020

Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2020




€16.18 billion

Number of companies


Direct employees


National contact

Fachverband der Chemischen Industrie Österreichs (FCIO)

Sylvia Hofinger

Director General



Chemical industry snapshot

Third largest industrial sector in Austria

Chemicals are the third largest industrial sector in Austria, generating about 10.2% of industrial added value. The industry provides about 11.7% of total Austrian industrial employment, 11% of R&D expenditure and 17% of industrial spending on environmental protection.

Significant output growth in the last decade

In 2018 the value of chemicals production was €18.18 billion, a moderate increase for the past three years – though over the past decade chemical sales grew by 20.3%.

The bulk of our chemicals are exported

About 70% of the chemicals produced in Austria are exported, and the value of chemical exports has grown over the past seven years. In 2016, 82% of imports originated in European countries, and almost 80% of exports were sold to countries in the same region.

Many Austrian chemical companies have foreign subsidiaries or are the Central and Eastern European headquarters for multinational chemical companies. Growth of operations in the newer EU countries has helped drive the recent growth of the Austrian chemical industry.

A sector dominated by mid-sized companies

The chemical sector comprised 240 companies in 2018 (down from 294 in 2008), employing nearly 45,600 people – an increase of about 2,100 over the previous decade. It is primarily made up of mid-sized companies which employ an average of 145 people. Only 64 companies have more than 250 employees. Chemical companies are distributed across Austria, with key clusters in Upper Austria near Linz and in the Vienna region.

Investment has fluctuated but the trend is up

Plastics (raw materials and products) were more than 49.3% of production by value in 2018, followed by pharmaceuticals (14.4%). Agrochemicals were 2.5%. Over the last ten years, investment in the chemical industry has fluctuated widely. It peaked in 2007, before the global economic crisis, and is still under this level today.

How are we doing?


  • High level of innovation
  • High level of specialisation
  • Social stability
  • Well-educated and trained labour force
  • Strategic location at the centre of Europe


  • Increases in labour costs in recent years
  • Demographic trends
  • High energy costs
  • High administrative and regulatory burden

Our contribution to a competitive Europe

Numerous Strategies (Life Science, Energy and Climate, Hydrogen, Bioeconomy, Research) have been prepared by the Government for the past months. The Chemical Industry – among other stakeholders – was involved in the preparation and provided input to all of them, however centralised strategies sometimes tend to be of more political than practical relevance and the next Government might restart some of these processes.