The paper demonstrates that the kinetic behaviour of a catalyst is a key element in developing a plantwide control strategy. The "inverse problem" is also important: design a catalyst whose kinetic behaviour fulfils at best the performance criteria of the plant. So far, these problems have not been systematically investigated. The methodological tool is based on the bifurcation analysis of the structure Reactor/ Separation/ Recycle. This analysis allows finding regions in the space of design parameters where performance criteria are met and stability is guaranteed. The catalytic chemical reactor must be a flexible unit. The recycling strategy is determined by the kinetic effect of each reactant, as well as by the sensitivity of the elementary reaction steps to concentration and temperature. When selectivity and catalyst properties require low per-pass conversion, manipulating the reactor temperature profile is an effective means for steering the plant between different operating points.