Chemical Industry in SLOVENIA

IndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 5/2005

In accordance with NACE, the chemical sector of Slovenia represents groups DG-24 (manufacturing of chemicals, chemical products and man-made fibres) and DH 25 (manufacturing of rubber and plastic products). In 2003, the DG 24 group generated 66 % of the Slovenian chemical industry’s total income, while the DH-25 group accounted for 34 % of the total branch income. Manufacturing of pharmaceutical preparations and raw materials is indisputably the most important subgroup of the Slovenian chemical industry. This subgroup generates 32,1 % of the chemical industry’s total income. Other important subgroups include: plastics processing, which accounts for 19,9 % of total income, followed by the manufacturing of rubber products with a 14,1 % share of total income, manufacturing of basic chemicals with a 10,6 % share, paints, lacquers and putties accounting for 7,0 % of the sectors income and manufacturing of other chemical products (explosives, glues etc.; representing a 6,5 % share of total income).

As the range of the chemical industry’s products is rather extensive, only the basic subgroups of products will be listed below:

  • Chemicals, chemical products and man-made fibres (DG-24), includes technical gases, dyes and pigments, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, basic polymer materials, pesticides and other agrochemical products, coatings, lacquers, printing inks, putties, sealants, pharmaceutical raw materials, pharmaceutical preparations, soaps, detergents, cleansers, polishes, cosmetic products, explosives, adhesives, essential oils, other chemical products, man-made fibres.
  • Rubber and plastic products (DH-25), includes tyres and air-tubes for vehicles, reconditioned tyres, other rubber products, plastic plates, tapes, foils, tubes, pipes, hoses, profiles, plastics packaging, plastic products for construction, other plastic products.

Historical Development of the Sector

In spite of the fact that the chemical industry is a relatively young branch of industry, it has a strong tradition in Slovenia. The first half of the 19th century saw the emergence of various small chemical works on Slovenian territory, producing soap, paints, spirit and various auxiliary chemicals. The first industrial chemical plants began to appear as early as the middle of the 19th century. A black powder plant of considerable military importance for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was established in Kamnik and is still operating today under the name of KIK Kamnik. Two other significant chemical plants, the precursors of today’s Cinkarna Celje and TKI Hrastnik, were also established in the 19th century. The establishment of these two producers, which were of great importance for that time, was helped by various factors: a favourable transport route providing railway connection with Vienna and the port of Trieste, the proximity of coal mines - coal at that time being the main source of energy as well as the availability of hard-working labour force. Manufacturing of tannin, alumina, nitrogen, calcium carbide, fertilizers and rubber products were likewise the early products of the Slovenian chemical industry.

If the predominance of the manufacturing of basic chemicals, based on domestic raw materials and energy, was characteristic of the early stages of the Slovenian chemical industry, an altogether different trend can be observed in the period between World War I and World War II. During that time, a restructuring of the Slovenian chemical industry was brought about by a gradual abandonment of coal as the primary source of energy and, in some instances, as a source of raw materials, for a new course, which emphasised the downstream chemical industry and the manufacturing of finished consumer goods. The last step, which showed the way to the present state of the Slovenian chemical industry, was the post-World War II start of production of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, pesticides, and rubber and plastic products.

Basic statistical data on Slovenian chemical industry in 2003

  • Income: SIT 775.6 billion;
  • Share of income in manufacturing industries: 18.2 %;
  • Share of value added in manufacturing industries: 21.2 %;
  • Number of employees: 25 236;
  • Share of employees in manufacturing industries: 10.8 %;
  • Exports of Slovenian chemical industry: SIT 522.6 billion;
  • Share of chemical industry’s exports in total Slovenian exports: 19.8%;
  • Exports of chemical products: SIT 501.7 billion;
  • Share of chemical products exports out of Slovenia’s total exports: 19.0 %.

The Slovenian chemical industry, which generated an income of SIT 775.6 billion in 2003, represents 18.2 % of the total income of all manufacturing industries. The share of chemical industry’s value added reached 21.2 % of value added realised in all manufacturing industries. The number of employees in the chemical industry was 25,236, accounting for 10.8 % of all workers employed in manufacturing industries. The exports of chemical companies in2003, which amounted to SIT522.6 billion, accounted for19.8% of Slovenia’s total exports. Value of total exports of chemical products (disregarded the activity of exporter) in 2003 is SIT 501.7 billion and represents 19% of total Slovenian exports.

Main export products are pharmaceuticals, tires and air-tubes for vehicles, paints, printing inks and putties and man-made fibres. Main export countries – Germany, Croatia, Russian Federation, Poland, Italy and Austria.

  Main exporters
  • Lek, d.d.
  • Krka, d.d., Novo mesto
  • Sava Tires, d.o.o.
  • Julon, d.d., Ljubljana
  • Henkel Slovenija, d.o.o.
  • Cinkarna Celje, d.d.
  • Johnson Controls NTU, d.o.o.
  • Helios, d.o.o.
  • Color, d.d.
  • Juteks, d.d.

Foreign companies present in the sector

Henkel, Goodyear,
Gruppo, Bonnazzi, Messer,
Novartis, Clariant




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