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Evonik Industries is moving into the specialty silica field with the $630 million purchase of J.M. Huber Corp.’s silica operations. Separately, Evonik plans to build a $120 million precipitated silica plant near Charleston, S.C., to supply nearby tire makers with the additive. The purchase of the Huber business will take Evonik, which now makes silica mostly for industrial applications, into silica for consumer products such as toothpaste. With operations in the U.S., China, and India, the Huber business will have sales of about $300 million and operating income of about $60 million this year, the companies say. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017. The new Charleston plant, meanwhile, will supply tire manufacturers with an additive that can cut auto fuel consumption by up to 8%, Evonik says. It is slated to open in 2018.
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