Success Case: Dow’s experience in Catalonia, Southern Europe’s main chemical cluster

22 May 2024

Business Investments · Chemistry & Sustainability

Dow, a leading US materials science company, has established one of Europe’s largest manufacturing sites in Tarragona, located in southern Catalonia. This site includes an engineering department that supports the Southern European market and an R&D department focused on industrial solutions, packaging, and specialty plastics.


“The south of Catalonia, Tarragona, offers a strategic location to supply other parts of the world. It's the biggest cluster in Southern Europe doing chemistry.”

Ignasi Cañagueral, Site Director at Dow

In a recent interview with Catalonia Trade & Investment, Ignasi Cañagueral, the site director at Dow, discussed the company's latest investments in Tarragona. “We are investing in a new plant for industrial solutions based on polyglycols, enhancing energy efficiency, decarbonization, and expanding our packaging and specialty plastics capabilities. Additionally, we are attracting more R&D assets to Tarragona,” Cañagueral stated.

Dow's Impact and Strategic Location

Employing around 800 people, Dow’s Tarragona site is strategically positioned within Southern Europe’s premier chemical cluster. This location is pivotal for Dow, as 60% of the production from Tarragona is exported. “Tarragona is the largest chemical cluster in Southern Europe, offering significant synergies with the local ecosystem,” Cañagueral added. He also emphasized the region's talent pool, saying, “We have the right people, we create opportunities, and we attract talent from other regions to Tarragona.”

Globally, Dow operates manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,900 people. In 2023, Dow reported global sales of $45 billion.

Catalonia: A Chemical Industry Powerhouse

Located 100 km south of Barcelona, Tarragona is home to ChemMed, a premier chemical hub hosting over a hundred chemical companies. This hub boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure and access to the Port of Tarragona, facilitating the import and export of chemical materials across the Mediterranean and North Africa. Additionally, ChemMed provides a rich network of potential partners and suppliers within the chemical, energy, and resource industries.

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