Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2017

Landscape of the European Chemical Industry 2017




> 16 billion €

Direct employees


National contact

Hungarian Chemical Industry Association (Mavesz)

Ivan Budai



Chemical industry snapshot

A big industry growing well

The chemical industry plays a large role in Hungary’s economy. Sales of Hungarian chemicals and chemical products nearly doubled from €2.8 billion to €5.1 billion during 2009-2015, registering a growth rate above the EU chemical industry average.

Industry output, including oil refining, chemicals and pharmaceuticals production as well as rubber and plastic products, reached nearly €16 billion in 2015 – 19,2% of total manufacturing production.

How are we doing?

Restructuring and investment underpin export growth

The industry has undergone big structural and technological changes since the 1990s. Privatisation has been completed and the technology base renewed. The leading petrochemical companies have become regional players in the Central European chemicals market.

Growth has been export-led: 60% of chemical products manufactured in Hungary are exported, of which more than 90% goes to European countries, especially Germany and Central Europe.

Backed by a strong research base

The chemical and pharmaceutical industries have a long history in Hungary, as do research, development and innovation that are particularly essential now to the competitiveness and sustainable development of the country’s chemical companies. Producers operate laboratories and research centres. The Chemical Research Centre of the Hungarian National Academy and the technical universities of Budapest, Veszprém, Debrecen and Miskolc engage in both basic and applied research projects in cooperation with companies and/or under EU programmes and projects.

A leading employer

The industry is a big employer, with more than 80,000 workers, including 14,000 in chemicals and 17,000 pharmaceuticals. By 2015 the number of employed exceeded has in fact exceeded the pre-crisis levels.

With gross wages above the national average, the chemical sector is a valued employer.

Regional clusters

Built upon infrastructure

Hungary has good motorways, roads and railways, fixed and mobile telecommunications and energy supply.


Important chemical clusters are located in three regions:

Northern Hungary

  • 15% of sales
  • focus on petrochemical and polymer production
  • two large companies with <€1 billion turnover, backed by SMEs
  • Close collaboration with universities in Miskolc and Debrecen

Central Hungary (Budapest and environs)

  • 50% of sales
  • focus on oil refining, petrochemicals and polymers; specialty and fine chemicals; and pharmaceuticals
  • Large presence of SMEs
  • Close collaboration with Budapest Technical University and Veszprém Pannon University.

Central Transdanubia

  • 8% of sales
  • focus on fertilizers, carbon fibres and agrochemicals
  • Many SMEs
  • Close collaboration with Veszprém Pannon University

Preparing the future


  • A strong petrochemical base
  • Scale economies of scale, up-to-date technologies and sound environment practices
  • Strongly presence on the stock exchange
  • Capacity enhanced by investment to meet demand from automotive, electronics and agriculture
  • A location of choice for serving Hungary and South-Eastern Europe


  • Highly dependent on imported feedstock and energy
  • High energy prices are weakening competitiveness

Our contribution to a competitive Europe

Focussing on talent

As for European as a whole, a supportive industrial policy and smart regulation at both European and national level are prerequisites for sustainability of the chemical industry. Education and training are vital. Hungary has a sound educational system, from elementary school to universities, and the teaching of science subjects and the importance of the technical professions are increasingly emphasised.

Working together to retain skills

Chemical companies are trying hard to maintain and develop close relations with vocational training schools, specialised high-schools and technical universities to attract young, well-trained and highly educated people to replace an aging workforce. This aims to avoid the skill shortages and losing professionals to more developed economies.