Big challenges ahead for Polish big chemistry

The first chemical forum held under the aegis of the Executive Club was met with very positive feedback from the companies, as well as senior representatives of the government. This may be due to the fact that the conference presented the market challenges faced by Polish chemical industry in the broader context.
Not only the upcoming merger of Azoty Puławy and Tarnów draw particular attention (, but also the threats of expanding of Russian concerns with access to far cheaper resources, which offer a similar product range. Witold Szczypiński – Vice President of Azoty Tarnów exhaustively presented this issue as seen from the perspective of the company’s management.

One sure highlight of the program was the vision of optimising costs by entering the market of shale gas and energy exploration presented by the Minister of Treasury Mikołaj Budzanowski, complemented by the mechanism of supporting ambitious, strategic but market-oriented projects named “Polish investments”. These two elements are supposed to allow chemical companies to reduce costs and, on the other hand, be an impulse for the development of innovation. Wojciech Słowiński – Partner at PwC Poland – presented the situation of the chemical industry in the wider economic context, focusing particularly on the impact of the shale gas revolution in the U.S. on the reduction of costs in the sector. He highlighted the global implications of this phenomenon.

The conference was accompanied by case studies, which allowed the participants to learn, among others, the details of the last CIECH bond issue presented by Bartłomiej Dmitruk – the Managing Director of Investment and Corporate Banking Department at Espirito Santo Investment Bank, as well as the PERN investment strategy presented by CEO Marcin Moskalewicz, with an interesting idea of including the chemical industry in a special product package during the expansion of the Gdańsk oil terminal.

In this context, the representatives of international chemical leaders Dirk Elvermann – the President of BASF Poland and Robert Stankiewicz – Chairman of the Board, CEO of Dow Poland, showed how the strategy of supporting innovation help them build their positions for years to come. Focussing on this element instead of competing in the segment of basic, low-overhead products allows them to look at the expanding market with optimism, not with fear. One interesting addition were the opinions of the representatives of professional organisations, mid-sized chemical companies, such as Jarosław Michniuk – the President of Selena FM, as well as companies cooperating with chemical concerns, who showed how they find their market niches, as well as how their specialisation gives them an advantage over others in the fields in which they are absolute experts.

Representatives of the financial and insurance sectors, as well as lawyers (Maciej Wolański – Managing Director, Head of Global Finance at Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking, Paweł Grześkowiak – Partner, Attorney at GideLoyretteNouel, Dariusz Tokarczuk – Managing Partner, Attorney at Law at GideLoyretteNouel, Leszek Niedałtowski – Vice President at STBU Insurance Brokers) pointed to the package of issues related to the financing of investments in the chemical industry, the impact of current legislation, and the risks associated with both the investment side and with managing a business.

Our conference concluded with optimism and a deep belief that the chemical industry has a chance to be one of the driving forces of the Polish economy, and a strong support for other industries.