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OPPORTUNITIES IN PERFORMANCE SURFACTANTS IN THE U. S.

January 5, 1998 - Fifteen products represent the backbone of the U.S. specialty surfactants market, according to a new study by Colin A. Houston & Associates, Inc. (CAHA) entitled Opportunities in Performance Surfactants in the U.S. Because of the prohibitive costs of developing, registering and introducing new molecules today, the surfactants included in this report represent the bulk of the materials available into the future for formulators to tweek and tune for the special performance required to differentiate their new products. In 1996, sales of these products totaled 550 million pounds, with a market value already more than $1175 million.

Four products accounted for over half of the dollar volume: silicone surfactants ($243 million), EO/PO block polymers ($151 million), phosphate esters ($136 million) and ethoxylated amines ($126 million). Other products covered in the report include: alkylpolyglycoside, alpha-olefin sulfonates, amine oxides, betaines, diphenyl oxide disulfonates, EO/PO alcohols, fluorosurfactants, imidazolines, sarcosinates, sulfosuccinates and taurates.

Selling prices for specialty surfactants run from around 90¢/lb to over $100/lb, with most materials selling in the range of $1.50 to $3.00 per lb. Products are selected for their unique performance benefits in specific formulations and processes, and are often tailored for individual customers.

TOTAL 1996 MARKET = $1177 MILLION Figure 1 U.S. - CONSUMPTION OF PERFORMANCE SURFACTANTS, 1996 (million dollars)

CAHA’s new study provides an in-depth analysis of each of the fifteen key specialty surfactants, covering product performance and differentiation, costs, consumption and trends, competing materials and systems, and major customers, as well as producers, including their production and market shares.

In addition, 20 producers are profiled in the report, giving an interesting perspective on their overall position in the specialty surfactants market. Some producers have an especially large presence in certain products. For instance, Henkel and Cytec are well known, respectively, for their alkylpolyglycosides and sulfosuccinates. Other companies with prevalent positions are Witco in ethoxylated amines, BASF in EO/PO alcohols and block polymers and Witco, Dow Corning and Goldschmidt in silicone surfactants.

The overall leader in the performance surfactants market is Witco with a 22 percent share in 1996, but BASF has grown through acquisition in 1997 and currently accounts for about 11 percent of the business. Henkel carried close to 7 percent of performance surfactants in 1996. Rhone-Poulenc has the second-broadest range of products after Witco, followed by Union Carbide and Stepan.

Further details of CAHA's study are available from Colin A. Houston & Associates, Inc., 20 Milltown Road, Suite 206, Brewster, NY 10509; Phone: 845-279-7891; Fax: 845-279-7751

 
 

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