AkzoNobel has finalized the €153 million divestment of its global paper chemicals business to Kemira. The deal was first announced in July 2014.
“This is another important step in our strategy to focus on leading positions in bleaching chemicals, colloidal silica and expandable microspheres,” says Niek Stapel, Managing Director Pulp and Performance Chemicals. “The deal includes an agreement for distribution of colloidal silica to the paper industry and we are looking forward to future growth of this product line.”
AkzoNobel continues to have a strong presence in the pulp industry as the leading global supplier of chemicals and customized solutions for bleaching pulp, marketed under the Eka brand.
The Pulp and Performance Chemicals portfolio also includes innovative and sustainable products and technologies used in a variety of other applications, marketed under brands such as Bindzil, Expancel, Kromasil and Levasil.
Last November AkzoNobel joined forces with SuikerUnie, Rabobank, Deloitte, Investment and Development Agency for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), Groningen Seaports, and the Province of Groningen, to investigate the possibility of producing chemicals from beet-derived sugar feedstock.
The parties have asked Deloitte to perform a feasibility study to provide an independent critical review and economic assessment on the viability of several business cases for commercial production in the Delfzijl chemical cluster in the Netherlands.
Part of ongoing industry efforts to replace increasingly scarce non-renewable raw materials, the partnership could potentially lead to the synthesis of a range of chemicals in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
It follows the recent publication of a report by Deloitte, which singles out the Netherlands as a cost leader in the production of sugar. The production of sugar beet is also expected to grow significantly due to impending de-regulation.
“We know that the Netherlands can produce ample volumes of sugar beet,” explained Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals, who is also responsible for the company’s Delfzijl activities. “We will now study how this can be used to create additional production and jobs in the Delfzijl area.”
Added Marco Waas, Director of RD&I and Technology at AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals: “We are always looking to use innovation to drive sustainable growth. The beauty of this project is that it’s also a perfect fit with our own Planet Possible approach to developing new technologies that are less fossil-based and reduce our environmental footprint across the value chain.”