Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2018

Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2018




€1.403 billion

Number of companies


Capital spending

€214 million

R&D investment

€3.1 million

Direct employees


National contact

Bulgarian Chamber of Chemical Industry (BCCI)

Yoncho Pelovski

Vice President



Description of the priority status of the chemical sector in relation to the overall industry sector ranking of the regions

The priority areas of the chemical sector in Bulgaria for the period 2020 are related to the development and implementation of new environmentally friendly technologies, producing chemical products needed on the market. Priority is given to the utilization of released now days wastes converting them to the secondary raw materials, minimizing emissions and saving energy resource.

Situational analysis of the chemical industry

  • The chemical industry in Bulgaria is important for the country, contributing to better productivity, gross domestic product (GDP) and a better external trade For selected products like soda ash, mineral fertilizers, petrochemicals, cellulose and some others, the location is important for our country and for the chemical industry in the region. During year 2015 the export of chemical products increased with 22.5 % and is the highest rate in Bulgaria for all sectors. Soda ash, mineral fertilizers, fuels and cellulose have the main contribution about; Leading companies are Solvay Sodi, Lukoil-Neftochim, Agropolichim, Neochim, Svilosa and Orgachim.
  • Production of chemical products contribute with 4.5% to the industrial output and 4.7% to the value add it; Production of rubber and plastics also have a positive trend and contribute to the add it value with 4.5% from the industry in the country.
  • The sector in Bulgaria faces particular breakdowns related to employment and The average age of workers is climbing, requiring better education of students to compete better with previous generations of workers.
  • Long-term co-operation between the Bulgarian Chamber of Chemical Industry (BCCI) and leading companies and Universities is a good precondition for better and more effective joint research pilot studies and development and implementation of new technologies in the practice.
  • Grey economy, low administrative capacity and long term procedures of permits remain to be a problem for more effective way and progress in the sector.

Strengths and weaknesses of the existing chemical industry base


  • The areas where the Bulgarian chemical industry is in an advantageous competitive position vis- à- vis the rest of Europe are soda products, fertilizers, fuels and motor oils, cellulose among others


  • Shortage of domestically-produced oil and natural gas resources
  • Specific energy consumption
  • Low acceptance of chemical industry and products by the Bulgarian public and green NGO’s
  • Increasing legal pressure – taxes and fees; burdensome and too long procedures in Bulgaria
  • Low level of recycling and utilization of plastics, paper and biodegradable wastes

Top national strategies (public or private) that are putting the member state in a European/globally advantaged position

The top objective of the National Public Strategies is utilization of biomass from different sources – with the emphasis on wastes of different origin.


Expected and needed new products as a result of co-operation at national and EU-level are:

  • New chlorine production using membrane technology – two sites were proposed, but nor approved from state Authorities
  • New Sulfur – containing complex fertilizers – still in development stage
  • New Nano-products on organic and inorganic base – research studies
  • New soil conditioners from industrial and agriculture wastes – already one example in the practice

Values of indicators for 2015 in Bulgaria – production of chemical products (C-20)

  • Number of companies – 643
  • Added value (% of manufacturing) – 8.5%
  • Turnover (euros bn) :   1.403
  • Direct employment : 13 500 (2.6% from the number of workers in the manufacturing industry)
  • Capital spending (euros bn) :   0.214
  • R&D expenditure (euros billion) : 0.0031

Source: National Statistical Institute for the period January-December 2015 – 2016