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Evonik is one of the world's leading specialty chemicals companies.
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There are clearly defined procedures for preparing, analyzing and undertaking acquisitions. In particular, these include clear rules on accountability and approval processes. For example, we undertake an intensive examination of potential acquisition targets (due diligence) before they are acquired. This involves systematic identification of all major risks and opportunities and an appropriate valuation. Key aspects of this process are strategic focus, management quality and development potential and any financial, legal and environmental risks. New companies are rapidly integrated into the Group and thus into our risk management and controlling processes. Any restructuring or divestment requirements relating to the value-oriented management of the Evonik Group are also systematically implemented. Post-transaction management closely monitors any liability and guarantee risks resulting from divestments.
To realize Evonik's focus on high-margin, highly profitable specialty chemicals operations, in recent years, portfolio management has concentrated on divestments. Since 2010 we have divested all shares in our energy subsidiary STEAG, sold the majority of shares in the resi-dential real estate activities (Vivawest), and systematically withdrawn from areas of the chemicals business that no longer fit in with our strategy or did not meet our return requirements.
To support the strategic development of the Evonik Group and the growth strategy we have embarked on, in the next few years the focus will be shifting to acquisitions. We constantly examine the strategic alignment, earnings power and development potential of possible acquisition targets. In 2014, we strengthened our leading position in silanes by the acquisition of the US company Silbond.