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Demand Booming: Evonik Increases Production Capacities of Methionine

(PresseBox) (Essen, ) Evonik Industries, in response to the significantly risen global demand for methionine over the past months, has decided to step up its DL-methionine capacities at the company's Antwerp site in Belgium. Methionine is an amino acid that boosts the protein content of animal feed.

Evonik has consistently expanded its DL-methionine business over the past years. This effort was significantly enhanced with the start-up at the Antwerp site in 2006 of the world's largest DL-methionine plant, with an annual output of 120,000 metric tons. The ¤300 million project represented the largest investment in the history of the Group's Chemicals Business Area. At the same time, Evonik announced that it would reactivate the predecessor plant in Antwerp after an extensive overhaul. This step was recently taken.

Said Dr. Alfred Oberholz, member of the Executive Board of Evonik: "Changing eating habits and high population growth in many countries around the world have led to increased demand for food from animal sources. The consistent expansion of our production capacities for DL-methionine has allowed us to sustainably keep pace with this growing demand."

Amino acids, the primary building blocks of all proteins, are vital nutrients for humans and animals. Some amino acids, including methionine, are referred to as "essential," since they cannot be synthesized within the body, but have to be absorbed as part of the daily diet. Generally, the natural methionine found in feed components such as grain or soy extraction meal is not enough to meet the needs of animals. Industrially produced DL-methionine closes this supply gap and ensures balanced nutrient content, while also optimizing the profitability of animal farming due to enhanced food absorption.

DL-methionine also makes an important contribution to environmental protection, since it helps avoid nutritive surpluses, lowers the nitrogen content of animal manure, and decreases nitrate loads in the soil. As an added benefit, DL-methionine also reduces water consumption in animal farming. Another advantage of industrially produced amino acids is the conservation of valuable protein resources. Thus, one kilogram of DL-methionine can replace 50 kilograms of fishmeal.

With an annual production capacity of some 350,000 metric tons, Evonik is a key provider in the methionine market. The company supplies its innovative products and services in more than 100 countries around the world. In addition, Evonik is the only worldwide manufacturer to offer four key amino acids for animal feed from a single source: DL-methionine, L-lysine (Biolys®), L-threonine, and L-tryptophan.

Antwerp is among the major production sites of Evonik and employs some 1,000 people in the Chemicals Business Area. The site is particularly characterized by its excellent infrastructure. In addition to the logistical advantages of the seaport, it is also easily reachable by rail and road. In addition to Antwerp, Evonik also produces DL-methionine at the Wesseling site in Germany and in Mobile, Alabama.

About Evonik Industries AG

Evonik Industries is the creative industrial group from Germany which operates in three business areas: Chemicals, Energy and Real Estate. Evonik is a global leader in specialty chemicals, an expert in power generation from hard coal and renewable energies, and one of the largest private residential real estate companies in Germany. Our strengths are creativity, specialization, continuous self-renewal, and reliability. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In its fiscal year 2007 about 43,000 employees generated sales of about EUR 14.4 billion and an operating profit (EBITDA) of more than EUR 2.2 billion.

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