Lanxess buys more Solutia chemicals and ups HNBR capacity

lanxessGerman chemicals supplier Lanxess’s subsidiary Rhein Chemie Rheinau is buying more rubber chemicals products from Flexsys America, a subsidiary of Solutia, thereby expanding its range into accelerators and predispersed fibres. Last year, the company bought accelerator and anti-reversion agent product lines from Flexsys.

The company is taking over the Vocol and Santoweb product lines including customer lists, tolling agreements and know-how. Employees of Flexsys are not part of the transaction. The transaction is effective immediately. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Vocol accelerators are for thick-wall rubber products, such as solid rubber tyres or fenders with long vulcanisation times, while Santoweb pre-dispersed polymer-bound cellulose fibres are used as reinforcements for drive and conveyor belts. Rhein Chemie already has predispersed polymer-bound aramid fibres in its portfolio. These are suitable for all applications in which rubber parts have to withstand extreme loads such as high dynamic and thermal stress.

In other news, Lanxess is expanding its production capacities for HNBR at its facilities in Leverkusen, Germany, and Texas, US, by 40%. This synthetic high-performance rubber is marketed under the brand name Therban and sold by the Technical Rubber Products (TRP) business unit. The company will invest a low single-digit million Euro amount in the expansion.

Expansion work on the facilities has already begun and is scheduled for completion by 2012.

The HNBR rubber market is currently growing globally at a double-digit annual rate. This is due in particular to a strong global demand from automotive manufacturers, especially in China and India.

The TRP unit is part of the Performance Polymers segment, which generated sales of EUR3.78 billion in 2010.