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EBRD lends €15m to Turkish chemicals firm to boost greener tyre making

By Olga Rosca

  • EBRD €15 million loan will fund building of new production facility
  • New plant will increase capacity by 40,000 tonnes by 2020
  • Expansion supports fast-growing demand for silica used in energy-efficient tyres

In support of greener business practices, the EBRD is lending €15 million to Turkish chemicals maker Egesil Kimya Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. to increase production of precipitated silica, a key component of energy-efficient tyres that reduce carbon emissions. Founded in 2002, Egesil is majority-owned by Germany’s Evonik Industries, one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals producers and the world’s largest silica producer. 

The loan will help build a new production facility in Sakarya, Turkey, next to the company’s existing facility. It will increase the speciality chemicals manufacturer’s annual production capacity of precipitated silica by 40,000 tonnes.

Demand for highly dispersible silica is strong and growing in the global tyre industry to replace carbon black, the traditional filler material in tyre manufacturing. Silica increases the grip and adhesion of tyres and has better anti-skid properties. It also reduces fuel consumption by lowering rolling resistance.

The new facility is expected to become operational by 2020. It will help make carbon emissions savings of around 67,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year during the life cycle of tyres. The EBRD Strategy for Turkey emphasises contributing to the improvement of energy and resource efficiency and to the further integration of medium-sized private Turkish companies into global value chains. The project is also part of the EBRD's Green Economy Transition (GET) approach, as 100 per cent of the Bank’s loan will be used for green investments.

Egesil Kimya has been chosen among various Evonik subsidiaries to house the capacity increase targeted to supply the European automotive tyre industry. The company’s existing facility has a very good track record, a cost-competitive manufacturing base and was awarded the Evonik Platinum Safety Award in 2018 for not having had a single work accident over the past 15 years. Strong demand for its product and full order books triggered the need to expand capacity.

As the leading silica producer in Turkey, Egesil Kimya aims to reinforce its leading position in the country and meet increased demand both locally and in export markets. With the additional facility, Egesil Kimya will become one of the largest silica plants in the world. The company’s main customers are the world’s leading tyre manufacturers.

The EBRD has invested almost €11 billion in close to 280 projects in Turkey, with a focus on investment in sustainable energy, improving infrastructure, strengthening the competitiveness of the private sector, deepening capital and local currency markets, and promoting regional and youth inclusion and gender equality.

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