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Evonik acquires Porocel Group

Evonik has acquired the Porocel Group, which has developed a technology for the rejuvenation of desulfurisation catalysts in a $210 million deal. This deal is scheduled to close by the end of 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

Executive board chairman Christian Kullmann commented: “This acquisition is the next logical step in the strategic development of our portfolio. Our focus is on stable and high-margin speciality chemicals.”

Houston-based Porocel had sales of about $100 million and an EBITDA of about $23 million in 2019, with an EBITDA margin of about 23%. It has over 300 employees worldwide and production facilities in the US, Canada, Luxembourg and Singapore. Desulfurisation catalysts are used to produce low-sulfur fuel and rejuvenating them is said to reduce CO2 emissions by over 50% compared with producing new ones.

Porocel’s surplus capacity will also enable Evonik to speed up the expansion of its fixed-bed catalysts business. It expects to increase the Catalysts business’s sales to over €500 million by the end of 2025 without further investment in capacity.

Separately, Evonik is investing around €15 million in its C4 production network at Marl, Germany. This will increase local capacity for the three isobutene derivatives tert-butanol (TBA), di-isobutene (DiB) and 3,5,5-trimethylhexanal (TMH) by over 50% by the end of next year, via debottlenecking. It will also boost TMH purity to >96%.

Demand for all three is growing and Evonik said that this should continue because of the development of petrochemical specialties like MTBE, 1,3-butadiene and DINP. DiB can be used as an intermediate for UV stabilisers, lubricants and special polymer resins, while TMH is used in lubricants and lubricant additives, plus some cosmetics and fragrances.

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