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The Brazilian subsidiary of German specialty chemicals company Evonik has begun production of Oxteril hydrogen peroxide, used in the disinfection process of food packaging, at its plant in Barra do Riacho, Espírito Santo state.
"The Brazilian market has great potential as the aseptic packaging industry grows at an average rate of 6% annually, while the global average is 2%," Evonik's head of Oxteril sales in the country, Flávio Iwassa, told journalists.
Hydrogen peroxide is also used in the paper, pulp and textile industries, and has applications in water treatment and detergent formulation.
The company intends to supply primarily the Brazilian market and South American region, particularly Argentina and Chile. Evonik estimates demand for Oxertil in South America at some 3,000-4,000t/y.
Production of Oxteril in Brazil became possible when Enovik increased its total output of hydrogen peroxide to 70,000t/y in Barra do Riacho at the beginning of 2008.
According to Evonik business director of active oxygens in South America, Ralf Ahlemeyer, Oxteril was imported in very low quantities from Germany.
"The imported product was not competitive. In order to increase our market share in the region, we have to produce locally," Ahlemeyer said, adding that Evonik intends to supply 15-25% of South American demand for products used in the disinfection of food packaging.
In addition, Evonik plans to be exporting approximately 40% of its Brazilian production within two years, according to Ahlemeyer.
Evonik Brasil is currently constructing another hydrogen peroxide unit at the Triunfo petrochemicals complex in Rio Grande do Sul state, which will have capacity to produce 40,000t/y.
The plant, with investment forecast at 45mn euros (US$64mn), was originally scheduled to come online in early 2011. However, given the current economic environment and weak demand startup could be postponed, Evonik said.
Globally, the company's hydrogen peroxide capacity stands at 600,000t/y.
In Brazil, Evonik has three industrial units, three distribution centers and three laboratories. The company also has industrial operations in Argentina, Chile and Colombia, and distribution centers throughout South America.
Evonik produces industrial chemicals used by the automotive, agrochemical, rubber, civil construction, plastics and paints sectors, among others.
The company's sales in Central and South America totaled 589mn euros in 2008.