German giant BASF defends its title as the world’s most valuable chemicals brand, according to the leading independent brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. Despite suffering a 5% decrease in value since 2019, the brand has comfortably held on to its top spot in the Brand Finance Chemicals 25 2020 ranking, the latest iteration of the annual classification of the industry’s most valuable brands, extended to encompass 25 entries for the first time this year. Despite the decrease, caused by the general slowdown in the chemicals industry, BASF is valued at $7.9bn – over $3bn more than Dow in second place.
Over the last year, BASF has been expanding its business endeavours in Asia-Pacific, focusing on developing agricultural solutions in the region and encouraging climate-friendly farming methods, in line with BASF’s sustainable brand ethos. Recently announced plans to invest $45mn to build a production plant in Tuas, Singapore, will boost the brand’s existing operations in the city-state to cover over 6,000 square metres.
Aside from determining overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics on marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, BASF is also the sector’s strongest brand, and the only brand in the industry to boast an AAA brand rating this year.
Savio D’Souza, valuation director at Brand Finance, commented: “BASF’s dominance is twofold – on one hand, the result of a realignment towards customer proximity, competitiveness, and profitable growth, and on the other, the consequence of competitors’ weaknesses, as Dow and DuPont have spent the last year rearranging their capabilities following a demerger.”
The merger and demerger of Dow (down 29% to $4.8bn) and DuPont (down 33% to $2.2bn) has resulted in a noticeable drop in both brands’ values, making them the fastest falling in the Brand Finance Chemicals 25 2020 ranking. Their contraction follows wider merger and acquisition trends in the chemicals industry, which have slowed down this year due to rising interest rates, stock market volatility, ongoing trade tensions, and diminishing economic growth. In the case of Dow and DuPont, the dwindling brand values can be attributed in particular to the carving out of a third entity, Corteva (brand value $1.8bn), entering the ranking in 12th position.
Saudi Arabian petrochemicals giant, SABIC (valued at $4.3bn), remains the third most valuable brand in the Brand Finance Chemicals 25 2020 ranking, enjoying a 9% boost to become the fastest-growing brand in the top 10. Over the last year, SABIC has been a shining star in the chemicals sector, heavily investing in its regions of operation, enshrining CSR at the centre of its brand ethos, and paving the way for sustainable innovation. This has most recently culminated in the brand’s intentions to develop its TruCircle initiative, aiming to close the loop on plastic recycling in association with global leaders in business and policy.
D’Souza commented: “SABIC has demonstrated a considerable growth in brand strength over the last year, rising from an AA+ to an AAA- brand strength rating. It will be interesting to see how SABIC’s first global marketing campaign as well as the brand’s proposed acquisition by Saudi Aramco impact SABIC’s brand equity in the future.”
Linde has taken the Brand Finance Chemicals 25 2020 ranking by storm, jumping into fifth place with a brand value of $2.9bn. The brand’s rise can be attributed to the decision to continue as Linde following the merger of equals with US gases giant, Praxair. This allows the brand to branch out into new territory, as it was not previously well-known in the US. Linde has also advanced its brand visibility in Asia by expanding operations in Shanghai, starting up a new air separation plant to supply nitrogen, oxygen, and argon to the world’s largest industrial gases group, HLMC.
China is present in Brand Finance's ranking of the world's most valuable chemicals brands for the first time this year, following its extension to include 25 entries. Claiming 18th position with a brand value of $1.4bn, Rongsheng Petrochemical is exemplar of China’s aim to gain prominence in the chemicals industry, transitioning into a pioneer of innovation and trade prevailing in international markets. Rongsheng’s solid performance in the study has been boosted by increasing Chinese investment into the industry and is likely to advance further in the coming years with the increase in crude oil imports to the region.
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