February 23, 2014


Evonik: In Asia where 'the action is'


Last November the Germany-based chemicals giant Evonik Industries opened a US$625 million methionine plant in Singapore, its largest and most modern. It is the most Evonik has ever invested in a single chemical project.


Evonik has three other methionine plants-in Mobile in Alabama (USA), Antwerp in Belgium and Wessiling in Germany.


Why buildthe fourth plant in Asia, in general, and Singapore, in particular? EvonikCEO Dr. Klaus Engel provides the answer: Asia is at present the fastest-growing livestock and feed production region in the world. Specifically it is the fastest-growing methionine market in the world.In the last two years, it got the lion's share-about US$1 billion-of the more than US$2.6 billion the company had invested around the world.


The choice of Singapore as site for its biggest methionine facility had some in the industry also wondering. The city state is a financial hub and has hardly any feed and livestock industry to speak of, unlike its agricultural neighbours like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, which have thriving animal production industries.


But Evonik isn't a stickler to established ideas. "We leave the beaten path and win over new markets with groundbreaking ideas," Dr. Engel says.


Peter Meinshausen, Evonik's regional president for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, also cited the city-state's "ideal geographic location, modern infrastructure, and business-friendly and stable environment".


From Singapore, added Dr. Reiner Beste, president of Health & Nutrition Business Unit, "shipment times from plant to market, be it to China, to New Zealand, to India or to Japan, will be drastically reduced."


DL-methioninemarket leader


A global brand,Evonik manufactures a broad range of products that includes adhesives and sealants, raw materials for the coatings industry, structural foams and special plastics for the automotive industry, building protection products, etc.


In the field of animal nutrition, Evonik, through its Health & Nutrition Business Unit,produces essential amino acids. Evonik, in fact, is the only company in the world that offers all four key amino acids for animal nutrition: methionine, lysine, threonine and tryptophan. It is the recognised market leader in DL-methionine, capable of producing 580,000 tonnes a year from its four plants including the recently opened one in Singapore. The product is being marketed worldwide using the MetAMINO® brand.


Amino acids are used as building blocks in the synthesis of animal protein, such as in nutrition tailored to the needs of poultry. With amino acids, livestock needs less feed and their excretion of nitrogen and other undigested nutrients is reduced, in a way improving the carbon footprint of livestock farming.


The Singapore plant, located on Jurong Island, has an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes, raising Evonik's annual global production of methionine to 580,000 tonnes.


Dr. Beste believes that DL-methionine is the most efficient source of methionine in the market, and provides the highest value for Evonik customers.


He said DL-methionine has captured 70% of the market compared with 30% of hydroxyl analogue, or MHA, which is an alternative form of methionine manufactured by other companies. "From announcements of other projects made, one can see that the trend is shifting towards DL-methionine", he said.


Beste said progress in feed technology, rapid population growth and rising consumption of meat in the region, particularly in China and Indonesia, are fuelling Asia's high methionine demand.


Analytical centre


Earlier in 2013, the company opened in Singapore its first analytical centre for animal feed in South Asia—in addition to those in Hanau, Germany; and Beijing in China-to "better support our customers in this important region", in the words of Dr. Alfred Petri, senior vice president for sales and marketing of the Health and Nutrition Business Unit.


"Like its German and Chinese counterparts, the Singapore centre provides a full range of amino acid analytical services to regional and global feed manufacturers to help them maximise the nutritional value of their feed," Petri explained.


The analytical centre also offers feed manufacturers the opportunity to be trained in amino acid analytics and to learn how to best apply this knowledge in feed production for more consistent, high-quality feed leading to improved animal production, better sustainability, and increased profitability.


It "allows us to provide our customers with the most up-to-date training on analytical methods as well as the most accurate analytical information available about the nutrient quality of their feeds and feed ingredients," said Dr. Girish Channarayapatna, the unit's director of nutrition and technical sales for Asia South.

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