SAZUN BLOG
February 9, 2021

Industry Insight Chemical Distribution

“Welcome to our latest sector update on chemical distribution. Due to Covid-19, this past year has proven to be very challenging in various aspects, yet we have seen that the chemical distribution market is very resilient and has not been as affected by the pandemic as other sectors. In fact, some companies have even outperformed their own expectations. 2021 does bring an additional challenge, Brexit. At this stage, companies are still not able to quantify the exact impact Brexit will have. We do however, expect that the sector will adapt to the changes in an efficient manner.
In terms of M&A, we’ve seen lots of activity in recent months, given that it is still a fragmented market and bigger companies are trying to consolidate. If we are to add the positive growth and profitability outlook to the formula, we get a very bright and positive panorama.”

The Chemical Distribution Market

Chemical Sales Breakdown

Global Chemical Distribution Market

The global chemical distribution market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 5% between the period 2019-2027.
Rising demand for specialty chemicals as well as technological advancements such as IoT and automation are to be two key drivers behind the growth.

Covid-19 has had an impact on the chemical distribution market, but then again, the sector is very resilient with many players closely reaching their budgets and some even surpassing them.

With the start of the new year also comes Brexit. Given the complexity and the fact that an agreement was reached during the Christmas break, the exact impact, for both, companies operating out of continental Europe as well as the UK, is still to be seen.

Trends in Chemical Distribution

Value-added services, such as packaging, blending and/or inventory management amongst others, are an important factor behind the commodity and specialty chemical third party distributors’ strong growth rates.

Rising environmental concerns and carbon emission limits, have caused big players to take sustainable steps in order to maintain their competitive position in the market.

The chemical distribution market is still highly fragmented. M&A activity has been very high in recent months, especially amongst the bigger players, who are trying to consolidate the market. It is expected that this trend will continue in the coming months.

Sources: CEFIC, GMInsights, GrandviewResearch; Sazun Research

Key Performance Indicators

EV/Sales NTM
EV/EBITDA NTM

  • The Peer Group consists of internationally-listed companies throughout the chemical distribution sector, differing in product portfolio, size and relative competitive advantage in order to present a comprehensive picture.
  • We observe a dip between Jan. 20 and May 20 for both EV/EBITDA (NTM) and EV/Sales (NTM) multiples, caused by the Covid-19 crisis and subsequent lockdowns. However, since May 20, we have seen a rapid rise to pre-Covid levels, with EV/EBITDA (NTM) multiples peaking at 11.3x. For EV/Sales (NTM) multiples we observe a similar uptrend, indicating a steady outlook and proving how resilient the chemical distributor market is.

Source: Infront Analytics

Selected Transactions

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If you would like to learn more about the valuations and deals of your industry, the transaction mentioned above or generally our way of working, we would certainly be happy to demonstrate our m&a PLUS® principle in a confidential meeting.
Just get in touch and we will share our experience on how to grow businesses with long-lasting partnerships.

With passion for M&A,
Your SAZUN Team