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Evonik unveils expanded oil additives plant in Singapore

GERMAN speciality chemicals company, Evonik Industries, which produces high-performance lubricants for the automotive, industrial and construction sectors, on Thursday unveiled its expanded oil additives plant in Singapore.

Plans to expand the Jurong Island plant, which currently produces 40 per cent of Evonik's global product portfolio, were first announced in 2013 to cater to a growing demand in Asia-Pacific for more advanced lubricants.

The expansion works over the past two years has now nearly doubled the production capacity of the plant. This makes the Singapore plant the largest of Evonik's five oil additives plants globally. The additional plants are located in the US, Canada, France and Germany. To support the expansion, Evonik has increased the size of its local workforce by 20 per cent.

The latest investment is part of Evonik's 5.5 billion euro (S$8.3 billion) investment programme on which it embarked in 2012. In a media briefing on Thursday, Evonik chief operating officer Patrik Wohlhauser said that about two-thirds of the total amount has been earmarked for growth businesses, especially in growth regions such as Asia-Pacific.

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Of the 3.3 billion euros that Evonik has invested around the world in the last three years, almost one-third - or more than 1.1 billion euros - were invested in Asia-Pacific, he added.

Evonik, which hires over 33,000 employees and is active in over 100 countries, achieved sales of around 12.9 billion euros in 2014. Of this amount, sales in Asia-Pacific contributed 19 per cent.

"The expanding mobility in Asia, a stronger focus on resource efficiency and higher fuel economy, as well as tighter emission limits are spurring growth in demand for high-performance lubricants," Johannes Ohmer, a member of Evonik's management board of the resource efficiency segment said. "With this additional capacity, we are addressing our customers' growing demand for more, and more advanced lubricants."

Evonik has been present in Singapore since 2008, when it opened its first production site and technical service centre in Asia. In November 2014, it also opened a 500 million euro methionine production complex on Jurong Island. The latter represents Evonik's largest single investment to date.

At the opening ceremony on Thursday, guest of honour Singapore Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin said that the global market for lubricants is expected to grow at 2.5 per cent per year and that Asia-Pacific currently accounts for 40 per cent of the global demand.