Evonik is one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies headquartered in Essen, Germany. The Group generated 14.4 billion Euros turnover in 2017 and is active in all major economies in the world. Globally, more than 36,000 employees are bound by one claim: no product is so perfect that it could not be made better.Evonik is organised as a strategic holding company with three operating segments: Nutrition & Care, Resource Efficiency and Performance Materials.The Nutrition & Care segment manufactures products primarily for use in consumer goods for daily needs, animal nutrition and healthcare. The Resource Efficiency segment supplies high-performance materials for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient systems used in the automotive sector, construction and adhesives. Lastly, the Performance Materials segment focuses on manufacturing polymer materials and intermediates, mainly for rubber, plastics and agriculture.“The former two segments are our growth segments, whereas the Performance Materials segment is driven by efficiency gains,” explains Peter Meinshausen, Regional President Evonik Asia Pacific South.Geographically, the Group operates as a matrix organisation based on six regions. Asia Pacific is divided into two regions: Asia Pacific North and Asia Pacific South. With its headquarters in Singapore, Evonik Asia Pacific South – spanning from Pakistan to New Zealand – has production sites, sales offices, research and development centres as well as technical service centres located across the region. In 2017 the Singapore company celebrated its 20th anniversary and is today responsible for 6% of the global revenue.
In April 2018, Evonik opened a pioneering research hub in Singapore which showcases the group’s strategic decision to globalize its R&D activities. “Asia is not only the recipient of IP anymore but has developed as a reputable innovation performer globally. It was clear to us that Evonik should be part of this which resulted in the launch of the research hub,” tells Peter Meinshausen. He continues, “By focusing on promising research areas for the future this hub will strengthen our position as a global leader in specialty chemicals.”The research hub centres around the resource efficiency segment via three research areas: functional surfaces, additive manufacturing and tissue engineering. The latter develops regenerative medical solutions by applying 3D printing and is set up as a so-called ‘project house’. This is a collaboration between the business line and Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik and is used to match basic long term research with production. Each project house is set up for three years after which the business line takes over and commercialises the research.Locating the research hub in Singapore was an easy choice. Its conducive business climate where IP is well protected, the possibility of running both emerging markets out of Singapore and establishing production sites here, and the well-organised R&D ecosystem all contributed to this decision.Taken all together, the research hub is ideally located to drive innovation for Evonik’s Resource Efficiency segment by developing forward-looking solutions and technologies for their clients in all global markets.Ultimately, the Group’s target is to generate 1 billion Euros additional turnover by 2025 with new research activities. “Therefore, I could imagine that more research topics will be assigned to the Singapore hub in the coming years”, emphasizes Peter Meinshausen.
Sustainability plays a vital role in Evonik’s global doing. Peter Meinshausen: “Our regional activities are an integral part of the global sustainability strategy. We are focussed on ‘Green Chemistry’ – that is the clear-cut commitment of the company.” Evonik Asia Pacific South’s efforts in this field have not gone unnoticed as they were awarded with the Sustainable Business Awards Singapore for the second year in a row. This year, the company was praised for its sustainable supply chain management as well as business ethics.
The global CEO has put the Group on a trajectory of becoming the best-in-class specialty chemicals company in the world. Efforts are being concentrated on Evonik’s three strategic success factors: customer-focused innovative capability; active portfolio management and an open and performance-oriented culture.
In addition, digitalisation will continue to change the look of the chemicals industry, just like that of any other industry. Therefore, Evonik Digital GmbH was set up to drive Evonik’s digital transformation.
From an Asian market perspective, besides China, the Southern part of Asia is developing fast thereby offering a lot of business opportunities.
From a more geopolitical perspective, Peter Meinshausen hopes the company can play a bigger role as part of the European business community. “European companies should embrace more the European element. We would be able to bring more to the table when we draw upon each other’s strengths and when we position ourselves internationally as the European Union.”