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The chemical industry is one of the largest industries in Austria. It is among the top in terms of the value it produces and the number of people it employs. The attractive business environment, the proximity to the growth market of Eastern Europe and the excellent staff training all provide Austrian companies with an ideal base for research, development and production. Almost two thirds of production is exported, a testament to the international nature of this industry.


Chemistry for a range of applications

The majority of companies in the Austrian chemical industry are medium-sized and employ around 150 staff. Numerous leading multinationals from the chemical industry have chosen Austria as the place from which to do business with Central and Eastern Europe. These include groups such as Beiersdorf and Henkel.

Whether it’s for a foreign branch office or a subsidiary, Austria offers the best business backdrop and many major companies already use this to their advantage. Through their trade association Austrian companies in the chemical industry are well-represented in all of the important European industry organisations.

Chemical industry products

Plastic products account for the highest share of chemical industry production, followed by pharmaceuticals. You can find more info on these important export-oriented industries here:

Varnish, paint, coatings and printing inks

The Austrian paint and varnish industry is a key pillar of the Austrian chemical industry. It plays a trailblazing role in Europe mainly because of the environmentally friendly products and production methods employed. With its environmentally friendly water-based paint, the Austrian paint and varnish industry is making a key contribution to reducing air pollution and preserving the environment. Almost 35% of total revenue is generated by exports. Products include:

  • Car paint
  • Paint and varnish for the construction industry
  • Emulsion paint
  • Stoving paint
  • Wood coating
  • Plastics coating
  • Furniture and paper varnish
  • Powder coating
  • Anti-corrosion paint
  • Cement paint

The high quality and the fact that these products preserve resources and the environment are key factors in the industry’s export success.

The product range of ADLER-Werk Lackfabrik , a Tyrolean family-run company, encompasses over 10,000 articles. Over 60% are water-based.

Rembrandtin Lack GmbH Nfg. KG is another leading company in the Austrian paint and varnish industry. It produces special coatings, of which almost 70% are exported. The main markets are based in Europe, above all Germany, France, Sweden, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. The most important non-European markets include India, China, USA, Japan and Brazil.

MUREXIN AG , a long-established Austrian firm with subsidiaries and partners in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Slovakia, produces facade paint, varnishes and lacquers.

TIGER Coatings GmbH & Co KG is a leading manufacturer of coating systems. The company has been using powder coating technology since 1968. The most important business sector is the development and manufacture of environmentally friendly, efficient thermoset powder coatings.

Donauchem GmbH is a member of the Donau Chemie Group, whose roots date back to 1828. This company supplies raw materials to the paint and varnish industry. 

Glue, adhesives, lubricants...

Construction adhesives from Austria have a broad customer base across Europe. When it comes to lubricants, oils and grease, there are also several Austrian companies producing high-quality, innovative products for many areas of application.

Murexin Klebetechnik offers a comprehensive range of adhesive solutions for interior construction as well as high-quality, environmentally friendly products for parquet flooring, carpets, PVC, wallpaper, linoleum, rubber and cork.

In addition to its paints and varnishes, Donauchem GmbH produces label adhesives.

Henkel is known for its high quality adhesives which are used in many different sectors. The palette ranges from common adhesives for the home, office and school through to high-performance adhesives for industrial use.

Chemical fibres

At present there are 4 companies producing man-made fibres at 3 different locations in Austria.

Every year Asota GmbH produces up to 25,000t staple fibres on 5 production lines at the production plant in Linz. Exports account for 97%, underlining the international importance of the company.

Evonik Fibres produces polyimide fibres and multifilament yarns in Lenzing; these are used as filters to separate dust from hot exhaust gases. Other areas of application include flame-retardant clothing and thermal insulation materials.

The Lenzing Group produces viscose, Modal micro fibres and TENCEL®, a cellulose fibre manufactured using the lyocell method.

Machinery for the chemical industry

Austrian companies in the mechanical engineering sector export successfully all over the world. The high technical standards and the expertise of this innovative sector are highly valued on the international markets.

Providers from Austria do not only produce machinery, they also supply modules, tools and automated systems which guarantee customers the very best in quality and productivity. Well-trained specialists, high quality standards and close contact with manufacturers in other countries are some of the reasons for their success.

Andritz AG produces special pumps and filter presses which are used to develop colours, pigments, fillers and other chemical intermediates.

The focus of Josef Bertsch Ges. m.b.H. & Co. KG lies in equipment for the chemical and petrochemical industries.

Working in the field of apparatus engineering and welding technology, Bilfinger Chemserv GmbH specialises in the manufacture and repair of containers and apparatus for the chemical and petrochemical industries.

Ortner GesmbH (in German) has been building plants for the pharmaceutical, semiconductor, chemical and food industries for over 40 years.

Research and Innovation

The chemical industry has been responsible for a dramatic change in our lives over the past century. From chemical compounds such as ammonia and sulphuric acid for industrial use, intelligent materials and plastics, right through to pharmaceutical and biochemical products – chemistry, its scientific developments, progress and products are the pillars of the modern economy and an integral part of our daily lives.

Responsible and environmentally sound

Responsible Care and Corporate Social Responsibility are goals which the Austrian chemical industry knows well. As part of this responsible business approach, a strong focus is placed on environmental protection and the health and safety of workers and consumers.

Responsible Care has been around in Austria since 1992 and is part of a global programme which allows every enterprise to participate in this worldwide initiative regardless of its size. 33 Austrian companies, who together account for around 40% of total production volumes, are successful participants in this demanding programme.

In the mid nineties the Austrian chemical industry transformed into an environmental and almost CO2-neutral recycling economy. This works highly efficiently and uses cutting-edge technology to avoid greenhouse gas emissions during the production process.


The connection between the chemical industry and the research sector has a long tradition in Austria. For example, Carl Auer von Welsbach, one of the most important researchers of his time, founded the Treibacher Chemische Werke in 1898. Today Treibacher Industrie AG is a world leader in the chemical and metallurgy industries and has branch offices in Canada, Slovenia, Japan and China, with exports accounting for 83% of revenue.

The Austrian system for research funding is an important incentive for the research sector. Financing from foreign sources in corporate research in Austria amounts to double the EU average.
With expenditure on research and development accounting for 10.4% of chemical industry spending, this industry is among the most research-friendly.

The pharmaceutical sector (including biotechnology) has the highest research expenditure per staff member. More information can be found here: Life Sciences und Pharmaceuticals

The Austrian plastics sector also has above-average investment in R&D, thereby influencing the international standard. More information can be found here: Plastics

Well connected

Thanks to the exceptional networking between business and science, the Austrian chemical industry is always at the forefront when it comes to cutting-edge findings from research and development. One example is the Plastics Cluster in Upper Austria with around 400 partners. The cluster aims to uncover future growth potential and trigger initiatives in plastics education.