Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry

Due to historical traditions, Latvia has a strong manufacturing base in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, making a wide range of products, ranging from petrochemicals and man-made fibers to paints and household chemicals. Latvia was the principal location for these sectors in the former Soviet Union, with 25 % of all new Soviet drug technology designed here. One out of every four medical preparations manufactured in the former USSR and intended for the USSR market was actually made in Latvia.

Existing and extensive R&D bases and a good cooperation between industry and scientific sectors  currently covers the following spheres of research: microbiological synthesis, wood chemistry, virology, synthesis of physiologically active substances, bioorganic chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, biomechanics, magneto-biology, and others.

Manufacturing and design of biotechnological equipment is also prevalent. Furthermore, Latvia is becoming recognized internationally for its CRO (Contract Research Organization) activities.

The chemical and pharmaceutical sector places 4th place according to output among manufacturing industries (7.6 % in 2014), 5th place among other industries by number of employed (6.7 % in 2014), and 5th place by share of export in sector sales (76.5 % in 2014). According to data from the Central Statistical Bureau, the sector included 490 companies in 2014.

Output by Subsectors in 2014*

* Provisional data
Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

Turnover by Sector in 2014*

* Provisional data
Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

FOREIGN TRADE

In 2014, chemicals and pharmaceutical products took up the lion’s share of the industry’s export (39 % and 30 %, respectively), followed by plastics (24 %) and rubber (7 %). Currently the country produces and exports a diverse array of pharmaceuticals and chemical goods, from unique anti-influenza medicine to petrochemicals, household chemicals, and paints.

Companies in the chemical, rubber, and plastic industries are well-supplied with raw materials and reagents by well-known European and worldwide companies via representative offices and powerful logistics centers, ensuring optimum proximity to customers. Brenntag, Algol, Bang Bonsomer, Telko, Azelis (former Broste), Kemetyl, Elme Messer, AGA, as well as local companies (Ksan, Himlat) and many others have representative offices and warehouses in Latvia.

Export and Import Dynamics

Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

The core export markets are the Baltic neighbors – Lithuania and Estonia – as well as CIS (mainly Russia), Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Poland.

Main Export Countries in 2014

Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

Latvian companies in industry 
Database of Latvian exporters

Additional information at:
Full industry profile: Chemistry, Pharmacy and Biotechnology Industry in Latvia
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia: www.csb.gov.lv
The Association of Latvian Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry: www.lakifa.lv
Latvian Biotechnology association: en.latbiotech.lv
Life Science Cluster of Latvia: www.lifescience.lv