Zeon (Tokyo) says it will build a second solution styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR) line in Singapore by the beginning of next year, doubling capacity at the site to between 70,000-80,000 m.t./year. The company is spending ¥7 billion ($57.8 million) on the project, which will use Zeon’s own technology. On completion, the Singapore complex will be larger than the company’s plant at Tokuyama, Japan, where it has 55,000 m.t./year of SSBR capacity. Singapore and Tokuyama are the only two locations where Zeon makes SSBR. Zeon is anticipating demand for SSBR, used in fuel-efficient tires, to grow at 7-8%/year. The company says it opted to expand capacity in Singapore because of the availability of butadiene raw material from Shell’s complex.
Separately, Zeon has entered into negotiations with its employees over a proposed closure of its plant at Barry, UK. The facility produces nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR). It has capacity for 15,000 m.t./year, accounting for 17% of Zeon’s global NBR capacity. The company also makes NBR at Tokuyama and in the United States. Zeon cites uncertainty over the long term availability of raw materials and changing market conditions. It uses acrylonitirle and butadiene raw materials. The plant, which also makes specialty nitrile compounds, employs 84 people. The proposal is to close the facility by end of this year.
By Natasha Alperowicz