media release

Akzo Nobel opens new chelates plant to strengthen position in micronutrient markets

Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals intends to strengthen its market position in chelated micronutrients for agriculture with its new EUR 18 million, High Performance Iron Chelates (HPIC) plant, which it officially opened today in Kvarntorp, Sweden. The plant, which concentrates Akzo Nobel’s global HPIC production capacity on one site, expects to produce up to 5,000 metric tons of HPIC annually to meet increasing demand.

Kvarntorp, Sweden, May 23, 2000 – Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals intends to strengthen its market position in chelated micronutrients for agriculture with its new EUR 18 million, High Performance Iron Chelates (HPIC) plant, which it officially opened today in Kvarntorp, Sweden. The plant, which concentrates Akzo Nobel’s global HPIC production capacity on one site, expects to produce up to 5,000 metric tons of HPIC annually to meet increasing demand.

In addition to commonly known major plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, often contained in fertilizers, micronutrients such as iron, magnesium and zinc are crucial to the health of plants and crops. HPIC micronutrients are specialty products for highly alkaline soils that guarantee the availability of iron to plants by binding the iron in soluble compounds until plants can absorb them. Without the binding action, known as chelating, the iron would “stick” to soil particles or form metal hydroxides, making it unavailable for uptake by plants.

Akzo Nobel is a leading manufacturer in the chelated micronutrients market with production concentrated on one North American and two European sites, one of which is Kvarntorp. The new plant provides Akzo Nobel’s business unit Functional Chemicals with a modern location for the cost-effective production of HPIC products. “This plant puts us in an excellent position to create new market opportunities through producing customized products with optimized biological performance. These products will enable us to increase our penetration of markets outside traditional ones in Europe and the Middle East,” said Rudy van der Meer, Board Member for Chemicals of Akzo Nobel. “Our ambition is to offer something different from our competitors and, based on our state-of-the-art technology, to establish Akzo Nobel Micronutrients as the recognized market leader,” he added.

Concentration of cost effective production capacity on its Kvarntorp site will also enable Akzo Nobel to strengthen supply links with its global sales organization, to take advantage of increasing demand for micronutrients in both developing and existing markets.

Akzo Nobel, based in the Netherlands, serves customers throughout the world with healthcare products, coatings, and chemicals. Consolidated sales for 1999 (excluding Acordis) totaled some EUR 12 billion (USD 13 billion, GBP 8 billion). At the beginning of 2000, the Company employed 68,000 people in 75 countries. Financial results for the second quarter of 2000 will be announced on July 26, 2000.

Products of Akzo Nobel Micronutrients, part of Akzo Nobel’s business unit Functional Chemicals, contribute to the improvement of crop quality and higher yields around the world.

Internet: http://www.functionalchemicals.com