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April 16, 2013

Lanxess starts leather-chemicals plant in China

Gerald Ondrey

Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany; has started up — on schedule — a leather-chemicals plant in Changzhou Yangtze Riverside Industrial Park. With a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tons (m.t.) per year, the plant is the largest of its kind in China and will strengthen Lanxess’ position as a sustainable leather chemicals provider in the local market. Lanxess has invested €30 million in the facility, which employs about 150 people.

The plant will produce the full range of premium Lanxess leather chemicals for the local Chinese market. China is the world’s single largest leather-chemical market. The country has become the world’s largest producer of leather products and one of the major consumers. Above all, the market for automotive leather is expected to grow strongly in the coming years. Lanxess is one of the world’s leading suppliers in this area.

“This plant will enable us to respond quickly and effectively to the industry’s constant need for the complex, innovative and sophisticated chemicals that are vital for the preparation and finishing of the finest leather products,” says Axel C. Heitmann, chairman of the Board of Management of Lanxess AG. “This investment also underlines our successful strategy of focusing on the emerging markets.”

The plant features the latest technology enabling the company to provide innovative solutions towards the need for sustainable leather chemicals. It will produce premium products such as Tanigan, Isoderm, Euderm and Levotan used for leather tanning, dyeing and finishing applications.

Leather chemicals are used to optimize the properties of the leather material such as its softness, water resistance, as well as ability to conceal minor defects and reduce soiling.

In addition, the plant’s buildings will be constructed to meet the highest environmental standards. The R&D building, for example, will be equipped with solar energy, earth’s heat, low-e glass and rainwater recycling to substantially cut total energy consumption. The building has won the national green building silver award.

“We will be setting new benchmarks for sustainability, including more efficient production methods, recycling, and reduced emissions. This new plant stands as an example of the environmentally-friendly production movement that is now so important in today’s China. It is also an example of the sustainability mission that is now the focus of Lanxess endeavors here in China and throughout the world,” says Markus Eckert, head of the Lanxess Leather business unit (LEA).

The LEA business unit is part of Lanxess’ Performance Chemicals segment. It has approximately 1,750 people worldwide and production sites in Leverkusen (Germany), Filago (Italy), Rustenburg, Newcastle and Merebank (all South Africa), Zárate (Argentina) and Wuxi (China).


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