Opportunities In Performance Surfactants In West Europe

Colin A. Houston & Associates, Inc.

The 2005 market for performance surfactants in Europe amounted to over 360,000 metric tons and was worth €738 million.  Performance surfactants remain the formulators’ best tools to fine tune and achieve special performance to differentiate new products.  As regulatory requirements increase pressure on surfactants, performance surfactants only become more attractive for their performance and suitable cost structures.

CAHA has carried out an in-depth analysis of ten of the most important performance surfactants covering product performance, differentiation, cost issues, consumption and trends, competing materials and systems.  In addition, for each surfactant profiled, the study reviews major customers as well as producers, including production and market shares.

A series of profiles of 13 producers gives perspective on their products and positions held in the specialty surfactant market.  Several producers hold a dominant position in the production of certain of the chemicals.  For instance, Cognis, the largest supplier by value, holds the prevalent position in alkylpolyglycosides (APG).  BASF is the dominant producer of EO/PO block copolymers.  Two of the producers profiled were sold to new owners in 2006.  This sector continues to attract interest as it represents the heart of the surfactants field.