The world is getting smaller. The population sure isn’t decreasing – just get on an airplane nowadays and see how many people they can pack on board – but the world of chemicals is.

Dow Chemical has announced its acquisition of Rohm and Haas, and Ashland plans to acquire Hercules (Ashland Inc. recently announced that it has completed the purchase of the pressure-sensitive adhesive business and the atmospheric emulsions business from Air Products and Chemicals Inc.). These acquisitions come on the heels of PPG Industries’ acquisition of Vanex Inc., announced earlier this week. In addition, specialty chemicals company Perstorp has announced it will acquire the specialty chemicals operation from Rhodia Organics and Lyondell Chimie TDI SCA, a LyondellBasell subsidiary, and, earlier this year, Deuchem (Taiwan) was acquired by Elementis.

According to Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney, a West Caldwell, NJ-based consulting firm specializing in market research and business analysis for the polymer and chemical industries, Dow Chemical’s recently announced acquisition of Rohm and Haas, and Ashland’s acquisition of Hercules, will further concentrate the supplier structure of coating additives in Asia.

So what does the future hold for the industry, both in the United States and abroad? I suppose we have to wait and see – and see if any more acquisitions take place in the meantime.