Evonik Industries says it is “exploring strategic options” for its superabsorbent polymers business, which the German firm is carving into a stand-alone unit to prepare for a possible sale or joint venture.
A sale would be its second large polymer divestment as Evonik hones its focus on specialty chemicals. The company sold its methacrylates business to the private equity firm Advent International last year for $3.4 billion.
Superabsorbent polymers, normally derived from acrylic acid, are used in baby diapers, adult undergarments, and other applications. According to the consulting firm Fior Markets, the sector is growing 6.1% annually and is expected to hit $12.2 billion by 2025.
Evonik isn’t stating how large the business is other than to note it has 800 employees. Evonik says it is the world’s third-largest maker of superabsorbents, behind Nippon Shokubai and BASF.
In 2016, Evonik reduced capacity at its plants in North Carolina and Louisiana in response to demand trends. It started up a joint venture in Saudi Arabia with the local firm Tasnee in 2013. It also has superabsorbents plants in Germany.
As Evonik contemplates exiting superabsorbents, Nippon Shokubai is doubling down on the sector. It is merging with another Japanese producer of the polymers, Sanyo Chemical, in a transaction they expect to complete by April 2021.
By: Alexander H. Tullo
INEOS Styrolution, the global leader in styrenics, has today announced the official opening of a new world-scale ABS facility located in Ningbo, China, together with its joint venture partner SINOPEC. The facility has an annual nameplate capacity of 600,000 tonnes.
The merger of Röhm’s Acrylic Products business unit and SABIC’s Functional Forms business has resulted in the formation of Polyvantis. This new company will offer extruded products in the forms film, sheet, pipe and rod for markets that include building and construction, transportation and aviation, electrical and electronics, automotive and home and garden.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc) is considering plans to acquire upstream oil and gas company Wintershall DEA, an affiliate of BASF SE, according to a Bloomberg report citing people with knowledge of the matter. A deal to acquire Wintershall DEA could be worth more than €10 billion, the report said. BASF and Adnoc declined to comment on the report.