ESSEN, Germany—Evonik A.G. said in a news release that it is planning to make the largest investment in North America in the past five years with a new production plant for precipitated silica.
The plant will focus on the tire industry, as well as the overall rubber sector.
Evonik did not disclose exact investment figures, only that it would be in the double-digit million Euro range. The firm said it is targeting a location the Southeast U.S., but it did not specify a location.
The firm said completion is scheduled for late 2017 to provide the North American market with products from local production. The overall project needs the approval of relevant government authorities, Evonik said.
“Evonik is on a growth path,” Klaus Engel, chairman of Evonik's executive board, said in a statement. “In planning this new silica plant, we are preparing our largest North American investment of the past five years. By doing so, we will continue to strengthen our leading market position as a silica supplier.”
The firm said that between 2010-14, it had increased its global capacity for precipitated silica by about 30 percent. In September 2014, Evonik expanded its facility in Chester, Pa., for additional annual production capacity of about 20,000 metric tons.
Evonik said it wants to continue to offer its customers high quality silica combined with customized service and high supply reliability. It cites growing demand for highly dispersible silica, specifically influence by North American economic dynamics and above average sales growth for tires with reduced rolling resistance.
The firm said manufacturers using a silica-silane combination are able to produce tires that allow for fuel savings up to 8 percent because of significantly reduced rolling resistance compared to conventional passenger car tires.
“We are going to continue expanding our precipitated silica capacity—a global program that we started five years ago,” Johannes Ohmer, management member of the Resource Efficiency Segment, said in a statement. “The resource efficiency megatrend fuels the demand for our products. Interest in energy-saving tires is continuously growing in North America. That's why we are planning to build the plant close to our customers-the large tire manufacturers.”
Evonik is a world producer in specialty chemicals, active in more than 100 countries with more than 33,000 employees and fiscal 2014 sales of about $14.1 billion.