Upbeat in Barcelona
Chemspec Europe, the only dedicated event for custom, fine and speciality chemicals, returned to the Gran Via Exhibition Centre in Barcelona for the second time on 13-14 June, once again alongside the outsourcing expo Chemsource. Most of the exhibitors were positive about both the state of the market and their success at the show.
“Yesterday and today, we have been busy. We had some excellent leads that will turn into real business and that will pay for the costs of being here” said Frank Wisser of WIL Research. Dr Andrea Missio of WeylChem said “Personally it has been very positive. I had a number of unsolicited meetings, which is a good sign of interest in our technologies” and David Simmonet, CEO of the Axyntis Group, said the event was “very, very good – especially for agro and specialities”.
The total trade attendance in Barcelona was 5,004 and visitor numbers were about 20% up on the 2011 show in Geneva, reflecting among other things a very healthy turnout from Spain. As ever, the visitors were highly diversified in nature, though the vast majority of them were manufacturers and distributors of chemicals of all kinds.
The single largest industry represented in terms of products manufactured and supplied was pharmaceuticals, with 40.2% of all visitors, ahead of agrochemicals (30.2%), coatings (25.9%), cosmetics and toiletries (21.8%), polymers (20.9%), custom synthesis (20.8%) and water treatment chemicals (19.7%). Their major roles were sales (30.5%), purchasing (17.8%) and senior management (16.3%) and the main areas of purchasing influence were chemical intermediates (45.7%), general chemicals (36.7%), organic intermediates (29.2%), pharmaceutical intermediates (26.1%), agrochemical intermediates (22.3% and APIs (17.0%).
From both a visitor and exhibitor perspective, Chemspec is strongest in the agrochemicals and general speciality chemicals arenas. Pharmaceuticals are traditionally less strong there, the industry has its own gigantic event in CPhI and many Big Pharma companies are now imposing near blanket bans on business travel. Consequently, what negative comment there was tended to come from those targeting pharma exclusively.
That said, even some of them were pleased with the number and quality of meetings. For example, Dr Cengiz Azap a sales manager for catalysts at Evonik Industries noted that the company stand had a good mixture of pre-arranged meetings and that both the Catalysts and Exclusive Synthesis business were pleased with the outcome. Similarly, Dr Frieder Mitzel, a business development executive, said that Siegfried had found the show to be good.
Exhibitor numbers were actually slightly down on 2011 at 398. This was mainly because fewer Chinese companies were present in the pavilions organised by the CCPIT Sub-Council of Chemical Industry, which was essentially down to internal funding issues within the Chinese government. As Achema took place in Frankfurt the following week, this also meant that those reactor technology and equipment suppliers who only have the budget for one show were mostly absent.
Otherwise, however, international exhibitor attendance was up and India was better represented than ever before. Chemexcil brought a large number of diversified Indian companies to its own stand and the showcase ‘Made in India’ area at the front of the hall. In addition, major Indian players like Atul and SRF had some of the largest stands at the front of the show, marking India’s arrival as a serious force in the industry.
The advantage of a show of Chemspec’s size, as many exhibitors say each year, is that it is possible to have proper length meetings that run to schedule, while still being open to walk-on visitor traffic. Most, as ever, found Day One the busier of the two, as the bulk of the organised meetings were on that day, but some commented that there were a few surprises on Day Two.