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Colin A. Houston & Associates
262 Eastgate Drive 323
Aiken, SC 29083 USA
Tel: +1-803-226-0350
Fax: +1-803-693-0707

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Novemeber 28, 2016 - The global primary surfactant market with a sales value of $14.6 billion in 2015, reached more than 9.7 million tons of products. Global use of these surfactants is projected to increase at 3.3 percent through 2025. Asia represents nearly half of the global demand for primary surfactants and is the growth leader. Primary surfactants are a set of large volume chemicals produced on an economic scale that delivers cost effectiveness that competing surfactants have found difficult to challenge. These materials dominate consumer product use and maintain utility across a range of industrial applications. The 9.7 million ton market is gradually evolving as per capita consumption increases and as product styles evolve. Household usage is declining from 68 percent of consumption to 66 percent over the 2015-2025 period due to faster growth in personal care.

“The supply of primary surfactants is adjusting to the entry of new detergent alcohol integrated suppliers in Europe over the last few years. This regional market is in a period of slow growth and the increased competition is favoring producers with higher degrees of supply chain efficiency and raw material integration,” according to Joel H. Houston, president of Colin A. Houston & Associates, Inc. (CAHA), a consulting firm in Aiken, South Carolina.

The new 650-page report titled PRIMARY SURFACTANT OPPORTUNITIES – REGIONAL MARKETS TO 2025 analyzes the most important topics and challenges that face the industry today: environmental developments, sustainability, new technologies, value chains, capacity changes, the downstream integration trend and demographic and economic drivers.

The report profiles eight global surfactant producers: BASF, Clariant, Huntsman, Kao, Sasol, Shell, Solvay and Stepan, and 14 more regionally positioned suppliers: Air Products, CEPSA, Dow, Ecogreen, Galaxy, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, Lion, Lubrizol, Musim Mas (ICOF), Oxiteno, Pilot Chemical, Saudi Kayan, Tayca and Wilmar.

Recent mergers, acquisitions and capacity developments are reviewed, including the trend for Southeast Asia plantation holders, like Wilmar and Musim Mas (ICOF) to enter Europe through new conversion positions. Stepan has acquired additional sulfonation assets in South America and has established a toll position to make surfactants for the Sun Products brands of detergents, which have recently been acquired by Henkel. As opportunities to acquire primary surfactant assets become rarer, companies actively developing their positions are open to considering new plant construction projects.

Discussions of surfactant market structures provide insight on a regional level for linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LABS), alcohol sulfates (AS), alcohol ethoxysulfates (AES), alcohol ethoxylates (AE), alkylphenol ethoxylates (APE) and methyl ester sulfonates (MES). The sections on each primary surfactant include data on producers and capacities, estimates of captive versus merchant use, producer merchant market shares in each region, and a forecast of consumption by major end use: household, personal care and industrial (including I&I.) Also surveyed are the key primary surfactant intermediates: linear alkylbenzene (LAB), detergent alcohol and ethylene oxide (EO).

Other recent CAHA multi-client publications include: Detergent Alkylates – World Markets to 2025 and Higher Alcohols to 2025. CAHA also publishes newsletters, including a monthly LAB Market Report and a quarterly report on Surfactant Developments. This new study is available for immediate download from our website where full details are included in the prospectus. To subscribe, please contact us at or +1-803-226-0350.



  • 262 Eastgate Drive 323 Aiken, SC 29803 USA | Phone: +1-803-226-0350