German chemicals giant invests $761m in new Singapore plant

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies speaking at the Evonik Methionine Complex Opening on Oct 19, 2016.
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies speaking at the Evonik Methionine Complex Opening on Oct 19, 2016. PHOTO: EVONIK

German chemicals firm Evonik Industries yesterday broke ground on its second Jurong Island plant catering to rising demand for a key ingredient in animal feed. The latest investment of more than €500 million (S$761 million) comes less than two years after the group opened its first such facility here in November 2014.

The new methionine plant is set to become operational in 2019 and create more than 150 jobs, said Evonik, in addition to some 500 staff across its operations here.

It will be able to make 150,000 metric tonnes of methionine, an essential amino acid used in animal feed - lifting Evonik's annual capacity to about 300,000 metric tonnes in Asia, and about 700,000 metric tonnes worldwide. It aims to meet rising methionine demand especially in Asia, said Dr Reiner Beste, board chairman at Evonik Nutrition & Care. "We have a growing world population demanding an increasing amount of healthy food, including meat, fish, eggs and milk, which is why the global methionine market will require bigger supplies over the coming years," he said.

Asia is Frankfurt-listed Evonik's biggest growth market for methionine, expanding at about 6 per cent to 7 per cent annually. It pulled in revenues of about €13.5 billion last year, of which €2.86 billion came from the Asia-Pacific, up 17 per cent year on year.

Dr Klaus Engel, chairman of the executive board of Evonik Industries, said: "We have again selected Singapore as a location because we can serve the Asian growth markets particularly well from here."

Evonik's two plants here mark the group's largest investment outside Germany and its largest methionine site in the world.

The firm in May last year doubled on-site capacities of its oil additives facility on Jurong Island.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was at the event, said Evonik's new facility - being built so soon after its first - is a "statement of confidence" in Singapore as a site for high-value manufacturing, noting such plants are typically built every seven to eight years. He said the plants will create more high-skill jobs here. "It complements our broader efforts to develop the skills needed for the jobs of the future."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2016, with the headline 'German chemicals giant invests $761m in new S'pore plant'. Print Edition | Subscribe