Evonik To Stay in Lehigh Valley
Evonik’s new business line to be based in the Lehigh Valley
Anthony SalamoneContact ReporterOf The Morning Call
When German specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries completed its $3.8 billion purchase of Air Products’ performance materials division in January, one executive said it would be in the Lehigh Valley for the long haul.
“We see opportunity for growth here,” John Rolando, president of Evonik’s North American operations, said in January.
Perhaps taking its first big step, Evonik announced Wednesday that it is combining its chemistry and epoxy curing agent businesses into one that will be based in the Valley.
Spokesman Robert Brown said Evonik, which employs about 200 people in a rented building at Air Products’ Trexlertown headquarters, won’t add to its employee count. But he said the announcement is significant because, out of the company’s 20 business lines, it’s the only one headquartered outside of Germany.
Evonik essentially is combining performance materials previously made by Air Products with the company’s own products, Brown said. Air Products’ performance materials division manufactured epoxy curing agents, polyurethane additives and specialty additives. The products are used in civil engineering and other industrial applications, Evonik said.
“Combining both businesses into one new unit gives Evonik the chance to offer a variety of products for epoxy and polyurethane applications under one roof now,” Claus Rettig, chairman of the company’s Resource Efficiency segment, said in a news release.
Brown said Min Chong, formerly Air Products’ vice president of its global epoxy business, is heading the new segment for Evonik. Chong, who holds a master’s degree in marketing and finance from Lehigh University, according to his LinkedIn profile, moved to Evonik in January as vice president and general manager of the epoxy business.
Evonik has a two-year lease inside Air Products’ Trexlertown headquarters in Upper Macungie Township. Air Products said in April that it is exploring options for its massive corporate campus, including moving into a new facility in the Lehigh Valley.
Evonik, which employs more than 35,000 people worldwide, posted a 2016 profit of $956.7 million off sales of about $14.4 billion. Evonik’s North America headquarters is in Parsippany, N.J.