Synthomer ups NBR capacity in Malaysia; demand from glove sector growing

September 24, 2018

Synthomer-2UK-headquartered materials company Synthomer has started up its RM270 million nitrile latex expansion at its Pasir Gudang facility in the southern state of Johor in Malaysia. The company has added on 90,000 tonnes/year of new capacity, which is a 50% increase in the installed capacity in Pasir Gudang.

According to Derick Whyte, Executive Vice President, Asia, of Synthomer, “We remain confident about future growth in NBR latex and are already planning the next phase of expansion, which will take the plant to 350,000 tonnes/year, to ensure Synthomer continues to meet customers increasing demand for more of our NBR latex as global glove demand continues to grow.”

The latest expansion was first announced in June 2017 as the site in Pasir Gudang took charge of Synthomer’s latest technology innovation, which the company says is the world’s largest nitrile butadiene rubber latex reactor.


As a major supplier of lattices and specialty emulsion polymers in many markets including coatings, construction, textiles, paper, and synthetic latex gloves, Synthomer says it has had a strong acumen in Malaysia over the past 100 years. It now employs more than 700 people across four manufacturing facilities in Johor and at its Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Synthomer says it has also invested more than RM1 billion in the last 15 years and this latest expansion sees a further investment of RM270 million.

Whyte went on to say, “We are delighted to be holding this opening event to celebrate the completion of almost two years of work. I am very happy that we were able to deliver this in a very safe way with over 1.4 million man-hours worked without an injury, at a time when the current plant was running at maximum output,”

Meanwhile, the Malaysian rubber glove manufacturing industry has seen exceptional growth over the last decade and Synthomer says it has taken advantage of the opportunity to invest in new capacity and product innovation to satisfy glove manufacturers.


“The market for rubber gloves is growing significantly around the world and the manufacture and supply of those gloves is dominated by our customers here in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. This latest investment will enable Synthomer to produce its latest high strength 4th generation products on large scale, meeting the technical demands and growth required here in Malaysia.” said Jason Davies, Synthomer’s Director of the Health and Protection Strategic Business Unit.

He elaborated that Synthomer has the broadest product offering and widest process capability with three manufacturing plants in the Synthomer NBR latex network, two in Malaysia and one in Italy. This broad process capability allows Synthomer to manufacture the widest range of products in the industry, meeting a broad array of the global glove manufacturer’s requirements.


The company’s most recent innovation, SyNovus, is said to offer a range of unique product benefits meeting both the glove consumer and glove manufacturer’s needs. This new innovation reduces the level of chemical additives in the product, aimed at reducing skin reaction for some users and has the added benefit of reducing the amount of energy required in the manufacturing process, reducing the carbon footprint of gloves produced using the SyNovus latex. This product will be produced on large scale in the future at this new expansion in Pasir Gudang, according to Davies.

The company is a FTSE 250 listed company headquartered in London, UK, with group revenue of £1.5 billion. It employs 2,800 people with manufacturing plants, technology centres and sales offices in Europe, Middle East, Asia and the US. Synthomer has regional centres in the UK, Germany, and Malaysia.

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