IHS Chemical Week


Redefining Success

10:28 AM MST | January 30, 2009 | By IAN YOUNG

The recently published PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 12th Annual Global CEO Survey explores how CEOs are "reconsidering the fundamentals of business in response to extreme operating conditions, and assuming responsibility for issues that were once considered outside the scope of industry." PwC interviewed 1,124 CEOs around the world between September 10 and December 2, 2008. The responses of the 48 chemical company CEOs that PwC interviewed show how they are dealing with a combination of challenges "such as mankind has never seen before," PwC says.
Only 17% of chemical CEOs interviewed by PwC are very confident that they can increase revenues over the next 12 months, compared with 39% in 2008.
About 77% are somewhat or extremely concerned about the disruption of the capital markets, and 65% believe that this will affect their own plans for expanding--a result that is in line with the average for the entire survey. More than two-thirds of chemical CEOs anticipate that financing costs will increase and that they will have to delay some of their investments, and just over half believe that they will have to reduce their growth expectations.
About 33% of chemical CEOs are planning to complete a cross-border merger or acquisition over the next 12 months, compared with just 25% of the total survey population. "The small to mid-sized deal market remains relatively strong, as companies look for bolt-on acquisitions to strengthen their existing positions and dispose of assets that do not meet their internal performance levels," says Volker Fitzner, global chemicals advisory leader at PwC.
About 58% of chemical CEOs report that they are making strategic investments in response to the threat of climate change and 94% are trying to reduce their energy consumption through improvements in operating efficiency.
About 63% of chemical CEOs are investigating alternative energy sources and 58% are investing in new technologies to reduce their dependence on energy. More than a half of the chemical CEOs surveyed by PwC are also securing future supplies of energy and 37% believe that scarcity of raw materials, water, and other natural resources may pose a threat to their companies' long-term growth.
About three-fifths of chemical CEOs are concerned that over-regulation may be a threat to the growth of their businesses.
About 35% of chemical CEOs anticipate that they will have to reduce the number of people they employ over the next 12 months, compared with 26% of the total survey population.
About 77% of chemical CEOs surveyed by PwC are concerned about a limited supply of job candidates with the right skills, and 63% find it hard to attract and integrate young workers.

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