Global Chemicals M&A Outlook 2021

Article

Global chemical industry mergers and acquisitions outlook 2021

From recovery to growth

While the chemicals industry is experienced in navigating headwinds, the global pandemic brought with it some unique challenges that caused many chemicals companies to focus inward, putting M&A transactions on pause. Despite the pause in M&A caused by COVID-19, 2020 still finished with solid M&A activity in the industry, with over 500 transactions, 8 of which were in excess of $1 billion. How are chemical executives re-prioritizing in the face of this global pandemic heading into 2021?

After four straight years of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume declines, will 2021 finally buck the trend or will the declines continue? How did COVID-19 impact 2020 global chemical M&A activity? Will the chemical industry’s move toward sustainability take a back seat as companies tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19, or will they continue to look to M&A to help drive their sustainability agenda?


With 2020 behind us and 2021 ahead, we thought it would be an opportune time to take the pulse of chemical executives and determine their sentiments regarding the M&A market and their upcoming priorities. What insights can be gained from our M&A survey as it relates to the M&A appetite among chemical executives as 2021 continues?


We will explore this in the 2021 Global chemical industry mergers and acquisitions outlook.


Deloitte polled 35 global executives at chemical companies across chemical subsectors and geographies between September 10 and November 3, 2020, to assess current and future M&A plans. Chemical executives were nearly unanimous in their positive M&A outlook looking forward to 2021, sending a clear signal that M&A activity will be an important lever as their companies recover and look for growth this year.


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German outlook

The German chemical industry has overcome the pandemic with some setbacks in business, but compared with other industries, seems to be well-poised. Many major chemical companies are repositioning themselves for further growth. Potential M&A transactions in specialty and fine chemicals are already on the horizon in the first quarter of 2021. This trend is likely to intensify into the latter half of 2021—provided that the recovery of the economy continues.

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