Thierry Le Hénaff, from Arkema: “Europe’s asset is its technological potential”


Thierry Le Henaff. François Bouchon / Le Figaro

INTERVIEW – The CEO of the chemical giant calls for measures to prevent the competitiveness gap from driving Europe away from Asia and the United States.

LE FIGARO. – The European chemical giants seem to have weathered the energy crisis well. Are they spared?

Thierry LE HENAFF. –The 2022 results of the world’s leading chemists were very good, but it was a year in two stages. A very strong first half was followed by a second marked by a sharp fall in demand, linked to significant destocking in Europe and the rise in inflation.

We were emerging from a particular period: eighteen post-Covid months characterized by a strong economic rebound. The change in tone that followed in the industry as a whole was all the more marked as the slowdown is more noticeable in Europe. Chemistry requires a long-term vision, with two imperatives: growth and competitiveness. However, our continent is characterized by weak growth (in 2023, it will still be much lower than in Asia and America) and a structural competitiveness deficit, which has been widening for years. We rely on…

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