Evonik increases R&D spending; to invest EUR4 billion

With the aim to turning Evonik into one of the world’s innovative companies, the company increased its spending on research and development (R&D) by 5% in 2014, and is investing EUR4 billion over the next decade to achieve this aim.

Klaus Engel, Chairman of the Executive Board said at Evonik’s recent R&D press conference in Wesseling that innovations are a key element of our growth strategy. He also announced continued high investments in R&D for the future.

Engel referred to innovations as the ‘elixir of life’ for the specialty chemicals industry. Further, he said that innovations open up new business areas and strengthen Evonik’s leading market and technology positions.

In fiscal year 2014, Evonik's R&D spending amounted to EUR413 million, an increase of 5% over the previous year (EUR394 million). The R&D investment ratio was 3.2 % (2013: 3.1%).

According to Evonik, around 80% of the R&D spending goes to activities within the operative businesses, which are specifically aligned with their respective core technologies and markets. Another 10% is used by the operative units to research and develop new business; and the remaining 10% goes to the strategic research of Evonik's innovation unit, Creavis, for establishing new high-tech activities outside of the existing Group portfolio.

The company held over 25,000 patents and patent applications in 2014. Some 250 new patents were filed last year-the equivalent of almost one invention per business day.

The company plans to significantly expand its innovation pipeline, which already cued up some 500 projects, including ingredients for the cosmetics industry, membranes, specialty materials for medical technology, food supplements and animal feed additives as well as composite materials.

Meanwhile, Ulrich Küsthardt, the new chief innovation officer of Evonik also plans to push for the expansion of international competence centres. Evonik already supports customers with tailored solutions in laboratories and pilot centres around the world. Thus, an R&D centre for coating additives with locations in Singapore and Shanghai develops products for coatings and paint manufacturers in Asia. The company also maintains a technology centre in Taiwan to advise customers from the Asian display industry, and its Medical Devices Project House in the US is working on innovations in medical technology.

Evonik is deliberately opening up to external partners and cooperating with scientists and start-ups (Open Innovation). This also includes corporate venture capital activities, for which a budget of some EUR100 million has been set aside. Such investments and shareholdings give Evonik insights into innovative technologies and businesses in the early development phases. The company's latest acquisition is Nanocomp, a Finnish company that develops nano-optical structures for applications in 3D gesture recognition, medical technology, and displays.

Evonik's innovation strategy is guided by the needs of a growing population-nutrition, health, access to new technologies, and conservative use of existing resources. Resource efficiency and climate protection are the basis for numerous energy-efficient and environmentally sound products made by Evonik. The specialty chemicals company has multiple solutions on hand for environmentally friendly and resource-efficient mobility. The silica/silane system for "green tyres" helps to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8 percent compared to conventional products while innovative additives for high-performance lubricants help to lower it by up to 4 percent. Furthermore, Evonik products for lightweight design such as composite materials hold the promise of further fuel savings.


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