Lanxess to Sell Reverse Osmosis Arm

17.07.2020 - German chemical producer Lanxess is realigning its water treatment business, divesting its reverse osmosis membrane activities to Suez and strengthening its ion exchange resins business to focus on high-end specialty applications.

Financial terms of the deal with Suez, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, were not revealed.

“The membrane business no longer fits in with our strategic focus on specialty chemicals,” said Lanxess CEO Matthias Zachert, adding that under the new owner it will have the necessary conditions to develop its full growth potential.

Lanxess produces the membranes, which play an important role in the treatment of brackish and seawater, at its site in Bitterfeld, Germany. The plant was built by former parent company Bayer in the early 1990s as part of an investment drive for eastern Germany.

Suez will acquire the plant and research facilities and retain all employees of the business that generated sales in the low double-digit million euro range in 2019.

To advance its ion exchange resins business, Lanxess plans to build a new of €80-120 million production facility with a capacity of 20-30,000 cbm, which would start up within the next five years. Zachert said the company is responding to growing global demand and wants to focus on especially promising market segments.

A location for the facility will be decided shortly, the company said. Lanxess currently manufactures ion exchange resins at its sites in Leverkusen, Germany, and Jhagadia, India in addition to Bitterfeld.

Bettina Blottko, head of the Liquid Purification Technologies business unit, said that with its applications for water filter cartridges, the company is already a leading manufacturers.

Lanxess is now additionally focusing on highly specialized high growth applications such as biotechnology, the semiconductor industry and the selective removal of metals, such as for the battery industry. “With our technological diversity, we are ideally positioned for this,” she said.