(Reuters) -German chemicals group Evonik Industries on Friday said it planned to build a production plant in Slovakia for rhamnolipids, which are used in many consumer goods including cosmetics.
Evonik said it would spend an amount in the "low three-digit million euros" but gave no further details on the actual sum to be invested. It said the new plant would strengthen its partnership with consumer goods group Unilever.
Rhamnolipids, which are fully biodegradable substances produced by bacteria by fermentation of sugar, are not oil-based and allow the manufacture of environmentally friendly products including detergents and cleaning agents.
"The journey of rhamnolipids from the initial idea to the finished product has been long, but it is worth it. This partnership with Unilever is a result of our expertise in biotechnology," Chief Innovation Officer Harald Schwager said.
The new plant is expected to be operational in two years, Evonik added.
(Reporting by Bartosz Dabrowski in Gdansk;Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)