Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2020

Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2020




€2.3 billion

Number of companies


Direct employees


National contact

Hellenic Association of Chemical Industry (HACI)

Panos Scarlatos

Director General



Chemical industry snapshot

The chemical industry is 5.5% of Greek industry but provides 13% of the country’s exports, 44% of the chemicals produced are exported.

Its plants are largely divided between the North Greece region around Thessalonica, responsible for 20% of output and the Central and South Greece region, where the prefectures of Voiotia and Attica account for almost 45% of total output.

Nationwide, the chemical industry employs almost 13,500 people. 1 job in chemical industry is linked to 5,7 jobs of the whole economy. The industry comprises almost 1,000 companies, 99% of them SMEs. A few big companies produce basic chemicals, fertilizers, petrochemicals and polymers. Many SMEs focus upon construction and isolation materials, consumer products and agrochemicals, while a handful of micro-enterprises are active in nanomaterials.

Greek universities train a significant number of chemists and chemical engineers. Some emigrate, but the presence of well-educated scientists should enable the development of further collaboration between universities and industry. Government R&D spending and EU funds together account for 0.8 % of GDP, well below the EU average. It is widely recognized that there is plenty room for improvement.

How are we doing?


  • Located in southern Europe close to the Middle East and Balkans
  • The fast-growing port of Piraeus and its rail connections provide good market access. Many multinationals use Piraeus as a logistics hub
  • Well educated chemists, engineers etc . Experienced personnel from abroad is ready to return
  • Economic reforms are improving the business environment like digitalization etc.
  • Hydrocarbon exploration ongoing in the Ionian Sea and Crete area, 30 areas have been identified for exploration
  • Mineral resources available
  • Very good compliance to the demanding EU chemical legislation
  • Interesting place to receive investment of R&D Centers, Business Centers etc.
  • Excellent potential for sustainable agriculture and tourism
  • On going reform of the taxation system for business


  • High energy costs for both electricity and natural gas
  • Heavy reliance on imported raw material
  • Still no attractive salaries
  • Still  difficult to access capital
  • Vocational training does not fulfill the business demands
  • Public sector bureaucracy

Our contribution to a competitive Europe

Restructuring the Greek economy will enhance the competitiveness of the Greek chemical industry as well.

The priority for the coming decade is production of pharmaceuticals, advanced materials, insulation materials and agrochemicals, which are both  for domestic consumption and exports.

Greece has important oil refining capacity, a strategic geopolitical location and an outstanding shipping industry that can provide access to natural gas.

Untapped oil reserves are estimated to include 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea off the coast of western Greece and more than 4 billion barrels in the Northern Aegean.

Greece has a growing role in the supply of natural gas to Europe. Work has begun on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) from Greece, via Albania and the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy, which will allow gas to flow from the Caspian region to European markets.