Evonik Looks to Shed Performance Materials

03.05.2022 - To accelerate its downstream diversification drive, German specialty chemicals producer Evonik is looking to find a partner for and eventually divest its C4 portfolio. The company confirmed the plans alluded to by the German trade unions at a May Day celebration.

The chemical businesses grouped together in the Performance Materials division include acrylic acid; butadiene; isobutene; MTBE; oxo alcohols and plasticizers; biodiesel; potassium derivatives and intermediates for pharma, cosmetics and surfactants, along with co-monomers for synthetic rubber.

With annual sales of €1.8 billion, the activities account for about 12% of Evonik’s overall revenue.  Most of the commodity or near-commodity products, which in quiet years have relatively mature growth rates, once belonged to former German chemical producer Hüls.  That company merged with Degussa in 1999 to become Degussa-Hüls, which in 2007 merged with RAG in 2007 to create Evonik.

Over the past decade, the chemical producer has invested steadily in the business, adding capacity for many of the current division’s products. In 2021, Performance Materials enjoyed sales strong growth of 47% year-on-year on the back of rising demand as adjusted EBITDA improved from €88 million to €136 million.

Evonik Battery Solutions Day at MIT

In other news, American Manganese said it has been selected as one of 15 finalists, among a group of more than 120 companies, to meet this week with decision-makers of different Evonik business lines at the chemical company- sponsored Battery Solutions Day hosted by US elite university Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

At the event, the lithium-ion specialist, which despite the name is based in Canada’s British Columbia province, will present its patented battery recycling technology RecycLiCo.

Larry Reaugh, president and CEO of American Manganese, said the firm that  focuses on recycling and upcycling lithium-ion battery waste into high-value battery cathode materials using a closed-loop process, “will look to meet and generate high-value synergies between our RecycLiCo technology and Evonik's innovation activities and investment opportunities."

Together with Blumorpho, a French company that bills itself as “connecting innovators to the world’s leading investors and corporations,” the German chemical producer is exploring potential collaboration and investment opportunities with organizations that demonstrate a high level of differentiation and strong value proposition across multiple battery solutions.

With minimal processing steps and more than 99% extraction of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese, American Manganese says its upcycling process creates materials for direct integration into the re-manufacturing of new lithium-ion batteries.

In particular leveraging its plastics portfolio, Evonik is carving a niche for itself in the market for lithium-ion batteries used in electronic vehicles.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist