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Lanxess realigns in water treatment

Lanxess has announced that it is focusing its water treatment technologies business on the ion exchange (IX) resins business and will build a new plant. As a result, it is selling its reverse osmosis (RO) membranes business to Suez of France, on undisclosed terms. This should be concluded within 2020.

Lanxess had previously been the only company in Europe to produce IX resins, adsorbents and RO membrane elements, and it had claimed that the combination “paves the way for highly efficient solutions”. However, board management chairman Matthias Zachert said: “The membrane business no longer fits in with our strategic focus on specialty chemicals.”

Suez will take over the plant and research facility for membranes at Bitterfield in Germany, with all of its employees. This is said to have generated sales “in the low double-digit million euro range” in 2019. To grow in IX resins, where it will address high growth segments, Lanxess plans to spend about €80-120 million to build a plant with 20,000-30,000 m3 capacity within the next five years. The exact location is yet to be decided but the company already produces the resins at Leverkusen, Bitterfeld and Jhagadia in India.

As well as water treatment, IX resins have applications in the power, chemical manufacturing semiconductor and battery markets and for cleaning purposes in the food and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Lanxess offers them under the brand name Lewatit.

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