Tyre companies expand reach globally

continentalWITH its sales growth in Asia increasing 50% last year to EUR4 billion, Continental has its eye on the market. It recently opened its first Chinese tyre plant in Hefei, Anhui Province. The German company is looking to have an over-proportional growth in China and has expanded its presence to 18 production locations and 15 sales offices, representing a workforce of 14,000 in the country. With an investment of EUR185 million, the new facility will have a capacity of 4 million tyres/year for the Chinese and Asian markets. The targeted production volume of the Hefei plant is 16 million tyres, for which further investments are planned.

Meanwhile, Japanese company Sumitomo Rubber Industries will invest US$346 million to construct a tyre plant in Brazil. Work will begin next year and production is slated to kick off in 2013. It is targeting an output of 15,000 tyres/day by 2016. produces EPDM at its sites in Germany and the US.

Meanwhile, the TRP unit is investing EUR17million to expand capacity of its polychloroprene solid rubber, which is sold as Baypren, at the Dormagensite in Germany. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012 and will increase production by 10%to 63,000 tonnes/year.

The polymer is used to produce cable sheathing, hoses, belts, seals and air springs. The demand for this type of rubber is currently growing globally at an annual rate of 3%.

The company also announced recent increases in SSBR and neodymium polybutadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) capacities in the US. It is also expanding its Nd-PBR production at the Dormagen site and at Cabo in Brazil.