Specialty Chemical Distribution in North America Market Update


This document was published by the Boston Consulting Group in March 2016 and written by Andrew Taylor, Udo Jung, Adam Rothman, and Christopher Moxon.


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At A Glance

The specialty chemical market in North America is growing faster than the overall chemical market in the region, and third-party distribution is growing faster still. These disparities are likely to widen over the next decade. Suppliers and distributors can take specific measures to capitalize on this shift.

Three Strategic Priorities for Suppliers
Suppliers should define a business case that is aligned with their go-to-market sales strategies, systematically choose distributors, and actively govern their relationships with distributors over time. 

Four Strategic Priorities for Distributors

Distributors should invest in technical capabilities that can help them offer value-added services, improve the effectiveness of their sales force, strategically acquire companies, and manage their brands through waves of consolidation.

Distributors are Making Transatlantic Deals

Some distributors are now merging to create larger companies with established businesses in both the US and Europe. The growth of these companies with likely outpace industry averages. 


About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global lead management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries.  


LANXESS Pigments Add Color to Rio Olympics

  • At the summer games in Rio, Bayferrox adds color to the Brazilian Sports Park in Barra da Tijuca
  • Red and black pigments from the Inorganic Pigments business unit enhance the park grounds



Cologne - Inorganic pigments from specialty chemicals company LANXESS have added color to many major sporting events in the past. Now the products from the successful Bayferrox range are to do the same for the Sports Park in Barra da Tijuca, Brazil. “From August 5 to 21, 2016, when 10,000 athletes from 166 countries compete in 28 sporting events at the summer games in Rio, both the participants and spectators will literally be walking on LANXESS,” says Jörg Hellwig, head of the LANXESS Inorganic Pigments business unit. That’s because much of the area around the venues is colored with black and red pigments from LANXESS.


Premium pigments for design and safety

The "Olympic Way", a boulevard of black and light gray concrete paving stones, meanders along the entire stretch from the entrance, past the 15 venues, to the tip of the triangular grounds. The eight-centimeter-thick stones, placed in a wave shape, symbolize the confluence of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões (Amazon River). The black-water Rio Negro gets its dark coloring form its high content of humic and fulvic acids, while the white-water Rio Solimões looks white when viewed at an angle on account of the mineral-based solids suspended in it. The rivers flow adjacent to one another over a distance of 11 kilometers before eventually converging. The concrete paving stones symbolizing this “Meeting of the Waters” were manufactured with over 40 metric tons of the iron oxide black pigments Bayferrox 318 and Bayferrox 340.

Numerous quiet zones around the venues are also of colored design, as is the large square in front of the public viewing park right off the boulevard. Their prominent red coloring comes from Bayferrox pigments. Drainage stones measuring 40x40x8 centimeters and colored with over 20 metric tons of Bayferrox 110 have been laid over more than 12,000 square meters of the park. These highly water-permeable paving stones prevent puddles from forming after heavy rainfall.

Bayferrox pigments are also a prominent feature in the athlete’s village: the microasphalt for the cycle paths here was colored with Bayferrox 130 iron oxide red pigment. The red coloring helps to enhance traffic safety by clearly marking the cycle paths as separate from the gray concrete pedestrian walkways. Even after the games are over, the colored surfaces will retain their brilliant appearance for decades to come thanks to the pigments’ outstanding weather resistance.


Sustainability first

Sustainability was of major importance to the organizers in designing the Sports Park in Barra da Tijuca. For example, water cisterns and treatment plants have been installed, and the subsequent utilization of the area as a new city quarter was included in the planning process from the outset. LANXESS, with all its various business fields, is a strong partner for sustainability. Its production processes are designed to conserve resources and preserve the environment – and to be safe and sustainable. All production facilities are certified to DIN ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and audited regularly. State-of-the-art waste gas and wastewater treatment facilities at the respective sites help to avoid emissions almost entirely. For more information on LANXESS pigments, go to www.bayferrox.com.


LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.9 billion in 2015 and about 16,600 employees in 29 countries. The company is currently represented at 52 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, specialty chemicals and plastics. Through ARLANXEO, the joint venture with Saudi Aramco, LANXESS is also a leading supplier of synthetic rubber. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World) and FTSE4Good


Click below to get a sample of LANXESS inorganic pigments!

President Obama Signs TSCA Reform Legislation

From NACD ChemBytes:

(June 22, 2016)  President Obama signed H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act that reforms the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The reform bill, which overhauls our nation's chemical management system, was passed earlier this year by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. NACD will be providing a short summary and transition document for members soon to help them prepare for the near term implementation items. The association thanks all those involved over the years in making this important legislative victory possible.


Video courtesy of C-SPAN


Ohio You Be the Chemist Champ Nearly Goes the Distance



On Monday, June 20, 2016, 39 participants from around the country made their way to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia to compete in the 2016 You Be the Chemist National Challenge.
The field was comprised of middle school students from 39 states, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, who won their respective state qualifiers to advance to the National Challenge.

This year was Palmer Holland’s fourth year organizing the northeast Ohio local qualifier. We were represented in Philadelphia by our Ohio champion, Tom Schlomi, and represent he did!

After 11 increasingly difficult rounds, Tom finished in 2nd place after losing by a single question in a Championship Tiebreaker Round to 13-year-old Jevin Liu.

Along with 2nd place, Tom earned a $5,000 educational scholarship, TI-84 Plus Calculator, National Park Annual Pass, and a chemistry set. Congratulations to Tom, his family, and all the participants in the 2016 National Challenge!


Picture (L-R): Sam Kwedder, Tom Schlomi, Sam Metzger, and Charlie Laurie