Patrick Thomas, the chief executive of materials giant Covestro, has described the UK’s decision to leave the European Union as “personally very disappointing”.
Speaking this morning at an event held by the firm in Cologne, Thomas said of Brexit: “We are still trying to work out what this means. This in an intriguing day in the history of Europe.”
Earlier this year Thomas had said a ‘Brexit’ would be “completely stupid”.
Kurt Bock, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE, said: "The United Kingdom is and will remain an important market for BASF. It has always been our strong conviction that the UK is better off within the EU, we therefore very much regret that Great Britain and Northern Ireland want to leave the European Union.
"Although we respect the decision of the British people, this outcome of the referendum will cause considerable uncertainty for markets, companies and households. It is therefore in the interest of both sides to clarify as quickly as possible in which form the EU and the UK will work together in future," Bock added.
Meanwhile, Steve Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association, which represents chemical and pharmaceutical businesses across the UK, said the vote was democracy in action, both in terms of the result and the level of participation.
“It is not the decision that our sector wanted, but we fully respect the wish of the people for change. Whilst business craves certainty, it is also used to operating in challenging and changing circumstances; this is what companies and their representative bodies do wherever they operate.
“We now have to look to the future and I am confident that an important and resilient industry such as ours can prosper in this new situation.”
Elliott said he was calling on the government “to work hard on securing the best exit plan for the UK and then establishing the new trading arrangements.
“Whilst we need to progress both these negotiations as soon as we can to limit uncertainty, we also need an immediate period of calm reflection to minimise instability.
“As an association we will do everything we can to help our members through any period of uncertainty and to be influential in the government’s negotiations, both here in the UK and with our partners in Brussels.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The British public has chosen a new future out of Europe. Government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests.
"This includes securing tariff-free access to European and other global markets, ensuring we can recruit talent from the EU and the rest of the world and making the UK the most competitive place in Europe for automotive investment.”
A comment on insulation firm Kingspan's blog called for "common sense [to] prevail."
"What we know is that the government will be trawling through more than 40 years of EU legislation and deciding what we keep, what we amend, and what we dispose of.
"So, what does this mean for the construction industry? It would be churlish to speculate. The benefits for the fuel poor, for lower carbon emissions, for improved health and well-being, for lower energy bills as a result of an energy efficient building fabric are obvious and the demand for housing does not simply disappear.
"Let’s hope that common sense prevails," it concluded.