The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) has announced that, based on its annual survey of member companies, batch, custom and specialty chemical manufacturers are optimistic about business conditions, with 90% of respondents expecting an increase in sales activity by the end of 2010.

SOCMA’s2009 Business Outlook Surveygathered members’ opinions on the current state of the market, planned capital investments, views on emerging markets and other issues. SOCMA’s membership is made up of roughly 270 companies, with the majority classified as small businesses.

“TheBusiness Outlook Surveyis a useful tool in helping our members set strategic direction, anticipate industry trends and understand the market forces that drive a wide variety of market sectors,” said SOCMA President Lawrence D. Sloan. “Based on this year’s results, the overall outlook for the industry is more positive compared to last. Many firms cite plans to at least consider investment in new capital equipment this year and at least maintain current capacity utilization over the next few years.”

Respondents overwhelmingly viewed the state of the U.S. economy as having the single greatest impact on the industry, followed by global economic conditions. In previous years, concerns about the price of oil and natural gas ranked higher. Companies also remain positive and active in their approaches to their latest business challenges and plan to increase profits over the next three years by introducing new products, making process improvements, and offering broader process technologies.

In addition, 75% of respondents anticipate outsourcing more projects this year, and more than two-thirds foresee further consolidation among custom manufacturers over the next three years.

The survey was conducted online by Galway Research Group from Nov. 2009 through Jan. 2010 and is available to SOCMA members for free. Non-members can access the survey for a fee.

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