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Evonik to complete superabsorbents carve-out by summer

March 05/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries expects to complete the carve-out of its superabsorbent polymers (SAP) business by this summer, says chairman Christian Kullmann, said Chemweek.

Speaking on Thursday at the company’s annual results press briefing, Kullmann said that the carve-out is making good progress and on schedule, but that Evonik has not decided on a preferred outcome for the SAP business. "We’ll see if a sale or partnership is a better alternative, but we’ll find a good safe haven for it,” he said. “We are thinking in terms of scenarios and will choose the best option."

The separation of the SAP business forms part of Evonik’s transformation program to become more focused on specialties. The plan includes the divestment of the company’s methacrylates business in 2019. Evonik also reorganized in July 2020 into four operating divisions and designated three of them—specialty additives, nutrition and care, and smart materials—as growth businesses. The other division is performance materials, which currently includes the SAP business.

Evonik CFO Ute Wolf told the briefing that Evonik decided to carve out the SAP business because it "has very low margins and this influences the margin of the whole group."

Meanwhile, the integration of PeroxyChem, acquired in February 2020 as part of the specialties strategy, is "making good progress," Kullmann said. And the integration of catalyst-rejuvenation business Porocel Group, acquired in November 2020, is also “on track, despite the pandemic,” he said. The Porocel business now forms part of Evonik’s smart materials division.

Growth projects include an expansion of capacity to produce specialty lipids, which are essential for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to production in the US and Canada, Evonik is expanding its production facilities at Hanau and Dossenheim, Germany, which are expected to produce lipids in commercial quantities as early as the second half of 2021.

"Evonik has been leading in lipids technology for decades,” Evonik deputy chairman Harald Schwager told the briefing. With the capacity expansions in Germany this year, Schwager expects Evonik’s lipids sales to reach “millions of euros"  in 2021. Evonik spent EUR433 million (USD523 million) on R&D in 2020, or 3.5% of sales, Schwager said.

Meanwhile, the previously announced closure of Evonik’s methionine plant at Wesseling, Germany—the company’s smallest methionine unit—will be effective on 31 March, board member/human resources and industrial relations Thomas Wessel told the briefing. The move will affect 100 employees, of whom 70 will remain with Evonik, Wessel said.

Evonik is about midway through its transformation process, Kullmann said. "The crisis did not prevent us from continuing to shape the company in 2020," he said.

As MRC reported before, Dow and Evonik have recently entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, crude oil, PP, PE, neftegaz, petrochemistry, Evonik.
Category:General News
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