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Chemical Industry

The chemical industry of Serbia experienced three fruitful periods - the first one during the 1960's when most of the basic inorganic capacities were brought on-stream, the second one between 1975 and 1982 when efforts were focused on the development of the basic petrochemical industry and the third one between 1987 and 1990 when the record levels of production and demand were achieved. At the end of the 1980's the production program of national chemical industry included 7-8 thousand of various chemical goods in global scope of 8-10 million tons.
The last decade of the 20th century was especially hard period for the chemical industry of Serbia. It started with the consequences of the former Yugoslavia disintegration, such as reduction of the domestic market and lack of several important intermediate products that had been manufactured in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia. Further problems were brought by the civil war in Croatia and Bosnia and the imposing of the UN trade sanctions against the new Yugoslavia. The production volume of chemical goods in 1998 was at 35% of the level achieved in 1989. Troubles escalated in the early spring of 1999 with NATO aggression against Serbia. During the 78 days of NATO bombing campaign the several large-scale chemical plants located in Pancevo, Lucani and Baric were almost completely destroyed. Especially significant financial and ecological damage has been made in the town of Pancevo, where chlorine, vinyl chloride (VCM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and ammonia plants were bombed and badly ruined.

Historical Development of Production: Chemicals and Chemical Products
(by manufactured volumes from 1966 to 2005, based on 1945=0%)

The chemical industry plays a very important role in the Serbia's economy and foreign trade achievements. Its share in gross domestic product of the overall industry of Serbia is approximately 11%, or together with industry of rubber & plastic products 14-15%. In 1998 the values of import and export of chemical goods were 744 million $ and 322 million $ respectively. In 1999, as a consequence of the above-mentioned circumstances, the national chemical industry's turnover and the value of export were split and its value of import reduced by 30%. The export achievements from 1998 were not over-passed until 2004 when exports of chemicals & chemical products reached the value of 384.7 million $, or together with exports of rubber & plastic goods the value of over 550 million $. What is more important, already in next 2005 those values were 494.6 million $ and almost 700 million $.
Many local chemical companies have already been privatized – most of them have been acquired by domestic managers. However, there are several world-known chemical companies (Henkel, Messer, Linde…) that already entered into Serbian market by acquisition of the local enterprises.

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