The most dynamic Southern European area for chemical activity

In Catalonia there is a strong, developed and international chemical industry, which is the largest chemical hub in Southern Europe

  • Companies
    There are 758 chemical companies in Catalonia, representing 3.4% of the Catalan industry and 27% of the chemical companies in Spain. (2018)
  • Turnover
    The Chemical Industry shows a turnover of €16,872 M, representing 13% of Catalan industrial turnover and 45.7% of the entire Spanish sector. (2018)
  • Employment
    The sector provides direct employment to 33,462 people, representing 7.1% of the Catalan industry and 36.8% of the chemical sector in Spain.(2014)

Therer are 2,393 chemical regular exporter companies in Catalonia, which account for 43.2% of the total in Spain and 48.5% of the total chemical exporter companies in Catalonia.(2017). Throughout the last decade (2008-2017), Catalan chemical exports have represented 16.8% of Catalan industry exports and 49.3% of chemical exports in Spain.Basic chemicals has been the most exported group (56.5%).


Foreign direct investment in Chemicals

Catalonia is the 3rd region in Western Europe in terms of foreign investement projects and job creation in the chemical industry. According to FDI Markets data, between 2013 and 2017, a total of 31 Chemical FDI projects were registered in Catalonia. This represents a capital investment of €692.4 M. It is also, a 54.4% of foreign projects and a 59.1% of foreign capital investment into the sector in Spain.

Catalonia is home to Southern Europe’s largest chemical hub.

More than 200 international chemical companies have their headquarters in Catalonia. This concentration of large multinationals, especially in places such as Tarragona, with one of Europe’s largest chemical hubs, means Catalonia concentrates 45.7% of the entire Spanish sector turnover. Apart from the Tarragona area in Catalonia, there are other two areas to be highlighted, Barcelona and Vallès Oriental and Occidental. The high concentration of chemical companies facilitates synergies between players, either in terms of the provision of raw materials as manufacturers or in terms of the use of by-products or waste used as raw materials for others (circular economy).

A logistics network that serves 400 million consumers in Europe and the Mediterranean/Africa in less than 48 hours.

Catalonia has a strategic location and first class infrastuctures. The Port of Tarragona is the logistics platform responsible for importing the raw materials required for the production processes in the chemical sector and exporting the products derived from them. The Port of Barcelona has specialized facilities and multimodal distribution for the chemical sector.

Specialised logistics operators skilled in the transport of chemical products are available, working with liquid products, solids, hazardous materials, to name a few. Other service companies specialise in the chemical sector working in areas such as engineering, maintenance, specialized waste managers, among others


Other strong points of the chemical sector in Catalonia

  • Catalonia boasts qualified and talented workers at a cost well below other comparable countries. Catalan universities offer chemical degrees and masters in addition to first-rate business schools
  • There are technological centres and research groups specialised in chemistry, thus facilitating R&D in Catalonia. 
  • Barcelona holds important global trade fairs and congresses of the chemical and related sectors, such as the World Chemical Summit, and CPhl Worldwide.
  • Renown applied and basic research groups supporting technological transfer and a complete network of scientific and tech centers representing the Catalonia’s research and innovation program


Business opportunities in the chemical sector

Catalonia is ideally prepared to welcome production plants as well as logistics and R&D centres.

Production plants for the following specialities:

  • Agrochemicals and fertilizers
    Catalonia has a persistent legacy and progressive talent in the fertilizer and agrochemical industry. Thanks to a notorious Agricultural sector there is a growing demand.
  • Paints and Coatings
    Catalonia is one of the strongest leading hubs in Europe for paints & coatings. There is a large base of potential clients in sectors such as Automotive, Food & Beverages and Construction.
  • Food Packaging
    In Catalonia there is a dynamic ecosystem for the food packaging industry thanks to presence of technological centers researching on new materials. There is a large base of potential clients in Meat, Oils, Dairy and Bakery products.
  • Plastic manufacturers for the automobile industry
    Catalonia is an excellent international powerhouse in the plastics for the automotive industry. GAP analysis of the Catalan automotive value chain has shown a lack of players in the molds and dies and the need of new materials for the Automotive industry.
  • Cosmetics
    Catalonia has a sophisticated atmosphere for cosmetics made of chemical companies, suppliers of raw materials, and technological centres.
  • New materials
    Catalonia is the launching pad and forefront for the chemistry of tomorrow. Hewlett Packard has its worldwide 3D printing business in its development center in Catalonia, where it has designed its 3D printer, the Multijet Fusion.

Logistics centres for chemical companies:

  • Strategic location with 2 ports specialised in chemical products: Tarragona in terms of goods reception and liquid products and Barcelona in terms of global connections and specialised in containers 
  • Specialised logistics operators

R&D centres for chemical companies:

  • Some companies associate their productive centres with R&D centres in order to develop new products, to find new applications, to reduce their contamination, to manufacture new materials adapted to client needs in terms of packaging or changes in legislation,… 
  • Catalonia has technological and research centres specialised in the chemical field

Feel free to contact us for further information

Passeig de Gràcia, 129


Tel: (+34) 93 4767287

Looking for the best suppliers for your business in Catalonia?

Download Chemical sector Snapshot

758 companies belonging to the chemical industry have been identified in Catalonia with more than 30.000 employees (2017).

International chemical companies

The chemical sector is tremendously active in Catalonia with international companies such as: Kao, Merck, Sandoz, Repsol, Bayer, Dow, Solvay, Bluestar Silicones, Hempel, BASF, Henkel, Messer, Samvardhana, Akzo Nobel or Clariant, just to mention a few.

ChemMed is an industrial, logistical, academic and scientific chemical cluster located in Tarragona integrated by more than a hundred chemical companies of all sizes. Presence of associations related to the chemical industry.

Download Bioeconomy Sector Snapshot

The bioeconomy offers an opportunity for the chemical industry to diversify its raw material base.

Tarragona, a petrochemical hub

With excellent road and rail connections, and direct lines to 46 different countries, the Port of Tarragona is one of the top ports in Spain and a leading port in Europe. 60% of port business comes from the petrochemical sector.

Chemistry for tomorrow

A number of research and academic institutions ensure that Catalonia is today at the forefront of the future of chemistry. Technological and research centres include EURECAT, LEITAT, ICIQ or CTQ