At the turn of the century, chemical giants spent about $3 billion in two years buying up pharmaceutical fine chemical specialists. This was part of a wider restructuring that added up to $14 billion of M&A activity between 1998–2000 in fine chemicals. Certainly in the last decade there have been three major waves of restructuring:
- Pharma giants increasing their market share through mergers while shedding chemical operations.
- The emergence of “new”chemical companies such as Avecia, Ciba, Clariant, Degussa, Rhodia and Solutia.
- Traditional companies radically restructuring or simply disappearing.
Leading consultants and financial analysts succeeded in convincing these companies that pharmaceutical fine chemicals would be a high growth, high margin, noncyclical sector with synergies with their existing businesses. Quel désastre.