The World's Largest Chemical Companies

Chemicals are required for a wide variety of uses and chemical producing companies are among the biggest companies in the world.
Chemicals are required for a wide variety of uses and chemical producing companies are among the biggest companies in the world.

Chemical producing companies use raw materials which are primarily minerals and convert them into various end products. These companies have seen a spike in production due to the recent growth of the construction industry in Asia and the Middle East. The most popular of the end products include plastics and polymers which have a huge demand globally in all sectors of the economy from health to agriculture. The chemical industry and chemical producing companies have existed throughout history in leather tanning and glass making but saw large scale production and specialization during the 18th-century industrial revolution in Europe. The earliest company during this period was the Leblanc Company whose founder, Nicolas Leblanc, had invented a way to produce alkali from sea salt. Chemical companies have grown in scale and numbers since the industrial revolution, and chemical companies are among the biggest in the world.


BASF is the biggest chemical producing company in the world with annual sales reaching $69.1 billion. The German company, headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany is focused on industry-grade chemicals used in the automotive, construction, and pharmaceutical industries. Founded in April 1865, the company was formerly known as Badische und Soda Fabrik, a German word meaning “Baden Aniline and Soda Factory.” BASF was founded by Friedrich Engelhorn in Mannheim. In its early days, BASF became renowned for producing dyes. During WWII, BASF along with other chemical companies such as Hoechst and Bayer merged to create I.G. Farbenindustrie AG. The new company was engaged in the production of various weapons and became infamous for the manufacture of Zyklon B, a lethal gas used in the Holocaust during WWII. The company experienced many industrial accidents and explosions which led to numerous causalities and tarnished its reputation. So in 1952, BASF was rebranded and took on its original name. In 1990 the company dropped all its consumer product lines and focused on industrial products only.


DuPont was formed in 2017 from a merger between the Dow Chemical Company and DuPont. Dow Chemical was founded in 1897 by a Canadian-born chemist Herbert Henry Dow, who was the inventor of a new method of extracting bromide underground in brine at Midland, Michigan. The company initially sold only potassium bromide and bleach achieving 72 tons a day in 1902. The merger between the two companies created the world's second-largest chemical company. 

Hazards Associated With Chemical Companies

Chemical producing companies have a reputation of causing large scale environmental pollution. These chemical producing companies are also prone to disasters such as explosion which can lead to loss of life. The BASF Company had such an explosion occur in 1948 where 207 people lost their lives. 

Which Are The World's Largest Chemical Producing Companies?

RankCompanyChemical Sales (USD Millions) Country
4SABIC37,620Saudi Arabia
6Formosa Plastics32,118Taiwan
9Mitsubishi Chemical26,422Japan
10LG Chem23,217South Korea

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