May 13, 2022
Evonik to Divest Performance Materials Business; Aims to Invest in Sustainable Growth
Published on 2022-05-12. Edited By : SpecialChem
TAGS: Sustainability / Natural Coatings
Evonik is aligning its portfolio completely to its three growth divisions: Specialty Additives, Nutrition & Care, and Smart Materials. Preparations are already under way for the exit of all three businesses of Performance Materials – Superabsorbents, Functional Solutions and Performance Intermediates. Evonik aims to find new owners or partners for each of these three businesses in the course of 2023.
EUR 3 Bn Investment in Next Generation Solutions
The proceeds from the divestment of the Performance Materials businesses and the operating cash flow in the coming years will be channeled to the green transformation. By 2030, Evonik aims to invest more than €3 billion in Next Generation Solutions – products with superior sustainability benefits.
That is around 80 percent of annual growth investments. In the same period, a further €700 million will be invested in Next Generation Technologies, i.e., the optimization of production processes and infrastructure to avoid CO2 emissions.
“We are greatly increasing our handprint and reducing our footprint at the same time,” said Thomas Wessel, the executive board member responsible for sustainability.
“Translated into KPIs: We will substantially increase the sales share of our Next Generation Solutions from 37 percent at present to over 50 percent by 2030.”
“That includes, for example, drug delivery technologies for controlled release of pharmaceutical active ingredients, gas separation membranes for biogas and hydrogen, as well as natural-based active ingredients for cosmetics. “Our innovations help our customers make their products more sustainable and improve their climate performance,” said Wessel. The dynamic rise in demand for Next Generation Solutions is evidence of their importance and offers Evonik above-average growth potential.
Aim to Reduce CO2 Footprint
Evonik aims to reduce its footprint by significantly cutting both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from production and processing. With the support of Next Generation Technologies, Evonik will reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 25 percent, from 6.5 million metric tons at present to 4.9 million metric tons by 2030.
This goal is fully consistent with the requirements of the Science Based Targets (SBTi) initiative, which Evonik is committed to. At the same time, the investments in sustainability are profitable: By investing €700 million in Next Generation Technologies, Evonik will cut its operating costs by more than €100 million a year up to 2030.
The repositioned Research, Development & Innovation unit is also fully integrating sustainability into the management of Evonik’s innovation activities. “Our RD&I targets are right on track to generate additional sales of more than €1 billion with our innovation growth fields by 2030,” said Harald Schwager, the executive board member responsible for innovation. “Our innovative capability is a key factor in leveraging green and profitable growth.”
Evonik’s aspirations are supported by its venture capital activities. A new Sustainability Tech Fund with a total investment volume of €150 million will strengthen the sustainability targets by investing into innovative technologies and business models. The focus is on new technologies that will reduce emissions as well as on innovations that have a high technological fit with the Next Generation Solutions.
As part of its strategic transformation, Evonik has also reviewed its mid-term financial targets. “Despite the current challenging environment, we are confirming our core targets: an adjusted EBITDA margin of between 18 and 20 percent, a cash conversion rate of over 40 percent, and ROCE of around 11 percent,” said Evonik’s chief financial officer, Ute Wolf.
In line with the full alignment to high-growth, less cyclical specialty chemicals, Evonik now aims to achieve an organic sales CAGR of over 4 percent. Up to now, the target was volume growth of over 3 percent. The annual capex budget increases successively from the current level of around €900 million to a level between €900 million and €1 billion over the next years – as a result of investments in Next Generation Technologies to save CO2 emissions.
In addition to these ambitious financial targets, the updated sustainability targets for Evonik’s handprint and footprint will be integrated into the executive board’s long-term compensation scheme from next year.