Zeon Corp. and Sumitomo Chemical announced today that they are proceeding with plans to combine their solution-styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR) operations into a joint venture (JV).
The JV, ZS Elastomers, will be owned 60% by Zeon and 40% by Sumitomo Chemical and will commence operations on 1 April 2017. Zeon is contributing 125,000 metric tons/year and Sumitomo Chemical 48,000 metric ton/year capacity, giving ZS Elastomers a combined total of 173,000 metric tons/year.
S-SBR is used mainly in fuel-efficient tires. The companies say that the competition in this market is intensifying as producers add more capacity. Competitors include Arlanxeo, a JV between Lanxess and Saudi Aramco; Asahi Kasei; JSR; and Trinseo. Sumitomo owns two S-SBR plants: an 8,000-metric tons/year facility at Chiba, Japan, and a 40,000-metric tons/year plant in Singapore. Zeon also owns two plants, one at Tokuyama, Japan, with capacity for 55,000 metric tons/year, and one in Singapore, designed to produce 70,000 metric tons/year.
Zeon and Sumitomo Chemical carried out a study into ways to strengthen their S-SBR business before deciding to merge the operations.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
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