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Leadership change in Evonik superabsorbents business

April 16, 2014

Norbert Westerholt appointed head of business line.

The baby care business line of the consumer, health and nutrition reporting segment of Evonik Industries has focused on the development, production and marketing of superabsorbents for more than two decades. The company manufactures its Favor polymers at production sites in Krefeld and Rheinmünster in Germany and in Greensboro, NC and Garyville, LA in the U.S.

Effective May 1, 2014, Norbert Westerholt will take over the management of the business line from Michael Pack, the newly appointed head of the performance polymers business unit.

Westerholt, who joined the group in 1997 as a lawyer, led the oil additives business line for five years and has been in charge of a portfolio development project in the coatings and additives unit since 2013.

Westerholt will be charged with further expanding the business with superabsorbents at Evonik. "We plan to further enhance the performance of our baby care business line and offer innovative solutions to our customers around the world," says Westerholt.

To meet the increasing demand of customers in growth markets, Evonik’s first Middle Eastern production facility for superabsorbents was started up in late 2013 in Saudi Arabia. In 2011 it established a joint venture, Saudi Acrylic Polymers Company, with Saudi Acrylic Acid Company (SAAC), for the production of superabsorbents. The facility operated by this joint venture in the Al-Jubail Chemical Park has an annual capacity of 80,000 metric tons and was constructed under license of Evonik.

With the new plant, Evonik says its consumer specialties business is solidifying its position in the superabsorbents industry to meet the rising demand for hygiene products in the dynamically growing markets of the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia. In the 2013 fiscal year, Evonik says its baby care business line reported significantly higher demand with corresponding increased revenues.