Lanxess extends supply agreement and plans PBR plant in Asia

ONE of China’s largest tyre companies, Triangle Group, has extended its agreement with German specialty chemicals company Lanxess for the supply of halobutyl rubbers from 2012 to 2014. Lanxess has been
supplying the rubbers to Triangle for more than ten years. Halobutyl rubbers are used in the innermost,
air and humidity-impermeable layer of a tubeless tyre, allowing for constant tyre pressure.

Triangle has an annual capacity of 23 million units and sells to over 160 countries around the world.

Meanwhile, Lanxess will locate another of its rubber plants to Singapore’s Jurong Island. The company will invest
EUR200 million in building a 140,000 tonnes/year neodymium polybutadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) plant, which will be located next to the company’s EUR400 million butyl rubber plant, currently under construction and to come on stream in the first quarter of 2013.

The plan to have both plants in Asia is in line with Lanxess’s agenda to cater to synthetic rubber for high-performance “green tyres”, which is the fastest growing sector in the tyre industry with an annual growth rate of 9%. Growth is even more pronounced in Asia at 14% a year.

Besides the megatrend mobility and call for higher environmental and safety standards in performance tyres, demand is being accelerated by European Union legislation for all tyres to be labelled for fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise. Japanese tyre manufacturers voluntarily introduced tyre labelling at the
start of 2010 and the topic is under discussion in South Korea.

Nd-PBR is part of a tyre’s compound and plays a role in reducing energy consumption and tyre abrasion, making cars safer as well as more ecological and economical, says Lanxess. (PRA)