Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2017

Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2017




14.86 billion €

Number of companies


Direct employees


National contact

Fachverband der Chemischen Industrie Österreichs (FCIO)

Sylvia Hofinger

Director General


Chemical industry snapshot

Second largest industrial sector in Austria

Chemicals are the second largest industrial sector in Austria, generating about 12% of industrial added value. The industry provides about 7.6% of total Austrian industrial employment, 10.4% of R&D expenditure and 17% of industrial spending on environmental protection.

Significant output growth in the last decade

In 2015 the value of chemicals production was €14.86 billion, broadly unchanged for the past three years – though over the past decade chemical output grew by 48.8%.

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 2015, 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 247 companies in 2015 (down from 295 in 2005), employing nearly 43,500 people – an increase of about 2,300 over the previous decade. It is made up of primarily 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% of production by value in 2015, followed by pharmaceuticals (15%). Agrochemicals were 3.3%. Over the last ten years, investment in the chemical industry has fluctuated widely. It peaked in 2007, before the global economic crisis, but today is 16% higher than it was ten years ago.

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

A Life Science Strategy (Ministry of Science, Research and Economy with broad participation of numerous stakeholders) is currently being prepared. This will complement existing horizontal strategies in the fields of research, innovation, energy, and resources. However, centralised strategies sometimes tend to be of more political than practical relevance.