The chemical and pharmaceutical industry in Slovakia recovered from the consequences of the coronavirus crisis during 2021 and recorded a year-on-year increase in revenues, which increased from €8.349 billion in 2020 to €10.767 billion in 2021.
Compared to 2019, last year's total revenues increased by 9 percent, which in nominal terms exceeded the performance of the industry two years ago; but their growth was mainly due to higher output prices, which reflected the increased input costs of the industry, reported President of the Association of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry, Roman Karlubík.
Overall increase in revenues
“The increase in revenues, however, is connected with the enormous growth of costs, especially the growth of prices of material inputs, as well as the prices of electricity, gas and crude oil and increasing costs per employee during the pandemic,” Karlubík said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Revenues increased in all chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, except for pharmaceutical products, where demand during the pandemic stabilised after an initial increase.
Last year, the most significant revenues in the refined petroleum products sector increased by more than 50 percent.
Revenues also increased more significantly in the plastics sector in primary form by 39.5 percent, a sign of a link to the automotive industry. Synthetic fibres jumped by 28.03 percent and rubber and plastic products by 12.81 percent. While refined petroleum products grew alongside rising oil prices, the artificial fibres sub-sector revised its model and focused on the production of protective equipment and masks, Karlubík added.
According to him, added value in the Slovak chemical and pharmaceutical industry also grew, while the growth of labour productivity was accompanied by a decrease in the number of employees in the sector by 0.49 percent and an average wage growth of 4.3 percent.
Expectation of price increase to energies
The future prospects for rising energy prices are also negative in connection with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, which includes restrictions on the supply of some essential commodities on the sanctions lists. If the conflict in Ukraine can be ended quickly, there will be scope for revitalizing and implementing the EU's recovery and resilience plan, Karlubík added.
“For now, however, it looks like we need to prepare for further restrictions, a shortage of raw materials as well as energy and unbearable prices,” he noted, as quoted by TASR. “Companies are still facing challenges in sustainability strategies, carbon tariffs and choosing greener solutions. Recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, the effects of the war in Ukraine and the related sanctions associated will take some time."
He noted that the chemical and pharmaceutical industry is still an important branch of the Slovak industry, making up 11.4 percent of its total sales. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry in Slovakia has 42,212 employees, which represents 10.6 percent of all employees in the Slovak industry.