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LANXESS builds new plant for membrane filtration technology

  • EUR 30 million invested in new chemical production facility
  • Pioneering membrane filtration technology for water treatment
  • LANXESS steps up its strategic water treatment business

LANXESS Sybron Chemicals Inc.'s affiliate, LANXESS AG, is building a new chemical plant at its site in Bitterfeld, Germany. This marks the specialty chemicals group’s move into a new segment of the water treatment business.
The company is investing a total of around EUR 30 million in this pioneering project. LANXESS plans to develop and produce membrane filtration technology in Bitterfeld.

The new plant is scheduled to be taken into operation for a pilot and development phase towards the end of this year. As things stand today, the first products should be launched on the market in 2011. An area totaling some 4,000 square meters has been set aside for the creation of high-tech laboratories, logistics areas, offices and a new, state-of-the-art production facility.

The membrane technology is used to filter out unwanted substances from water. The membrane’s chemical composition and structure make it possible to filter out substances such as nitrates, pesticides, herbicides, viruses, bacteria and the smallest particles. As the water passes through the filter, this filter extracts suspended particles and other unwanted substances. In other words, membranes form a selective barrier.

By moving into this new field of technology, the Group is opening up further areas of application in water treatment. The volume of the global membrane market alone is currently estimated at around EUR 1 billion, and this figure is set to rise further.

“Usable water supplies are dwindling worldwide, thus becoming an increasingly valuable resource. Thanks to LANXESS’s pioneering investment in Bitterfeld, we are now able to offer additional products for water treatment and thus further strengthen our strong market position,” explained Axel C. Heitmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG. “Our high-tech products, such as the powerful Lewatit® ion exchange resins, are already helping to ease global water problems today.”

LANXESS invests in the water business

The new project in Bitterfeld is designed to further expand LANXESS’s strategic water treatment business. The global market for water treatment is estimated at between EUR 315 and 330 billion. The private Swiss bank Sarasin forecasts annual growth of 10 percent in this field.

“This year, the water business will start to play an increasingly important role in LANXESS’s operational activities. We are stepping up our global activities in this area considerably and seeking to leverage the potential that this market has to offer,” said Heitmann.

LANXESS is currently building another plant for ion exchange resins in Jhagadia, India, which is scheduled to be taken into operation later this year. Upon completion, it will be the most state-of-the-art plant of its kind in Asia. It will be used, among other things, to supply products for the production of ultrapure water for the semiconductor and pharmaceuticals industries, for industrial water treatment, for food production and for power generation. These new plants in Bitterfeld and Jhagadia represent LANXESS’s biggest-ever investment program in the water market.

In total, the Group is investing some EUR 50 million in the new site in Jhagadia. In addition to the facility for the production of ion exchange resins, the company has also completed construction of a new plant for rubber chemicals. These projects will create 225 new jobs.

More than 70 years of experience in water treatment

With its high-quality Lewatit® ion exchange resins, adsorbers and functional polymers, LANXESS has more than 70 years of experience and expertise as a one-stop supplier of premium products for water treatment.

At the LANXESS site in Bitterfeld, some 80 employees have been producing high-performance ion exchange resins for over 10 years through the subsidiary IAB Ionenaustauscher GmbH. This production facility for monodisperse technology is the largest and most cutting-edge of its kind in the world. The high-tech resins produced there are used in the fields of water treatment, power generation, microelectronics, and the drinking water and food preparation industries. The broad range of applications for these small beads of resin includes, for example, the decalcification or desalination of water in dishwashers and the decarbonization or extraction of heavy metals from drinking water in water filters. LANXESS produces Lewatit® ion exchange resins at sites in both Bitterfeld and Leverkusen.

The Ion Exchange Resins (ION) business unit currently has a workforce of around 400 worldwide, of which some 300 are located in Germany. The ION business unit is part of LANXESS’s Performance Chemicals segment, which recorded sales of EUR 1,148 million in the first nine months of 2009.


LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.8 billion in 2011 and currently around 16,800 employees in 30 countries. The company is at present represented at 49 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainable indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and FTSE4Good.

Leverkusen,      2012

Forward-Looking Statements.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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