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Polish SR maker Synthos plans Brazil plant

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By Mike McNulty, Crain News Service

RIO GRANDE, Brazil (May 14, 2014) — Polish synthetic rubber producer Synthos S.A. plans to build a plant in Brazil to produce a specialized type of polybutadiene rubber used in high-performance tires.

The firm said it will build the facility, for the production of neodymium polybutadiene rubber (NdBR) — used to make high-performance car and truck tires and various technical rubber products — in the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex in Rio Grande, but it did not release financial details.

Oświęcim, Poland-based Synthos said its need for a plant in Brazil stems from multi-year contracts it signed recently with Group Michelin and Pirelli & C. S.p.A. to supply NdBR to their facilities in Brazil. The production of polybutadiene rubber in Brazil will be based on a license granted by Michelin, a spokesman said.

Synthos noted that the expansion will be carried out only after 2013 contracts on raw materials supplies go into effect. Once the contracts are implemented, it said, the company will build a plant.

Capacity at facility, which will sit on about 24 acres, is expected to reach 80,000 metric tons annually. A company spokesman said the new factory will employ about 120.

“Considering the growing demand for synthetic rubber in Brazil and other South American countries, we will not aim at replacing the local production but try to substitute the import into the region,” according to Synthos CEO Tomasz Kalwat.

Synthos reported sales of $1.78 billion in 2013, with slightly more than half coming from the SR business. In 2013 the company’s exports of rubber to South America amounted to 6.3 percent of sales, nearly double that in 2012.

Synthos manages two manufacturing companies in Europe: Synthos Dwory in Oświęcim and Synthos Kralupy A.S. in Kralupy, Czech Republic.

In the first three quarters of 2013, according to the Polish Foreign Market Research Lab, sales of tires for new cars in Brazil increased 9 percent, and the replacement market rose 11 percent over the same period in 2012.

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This report appeared on rubbernews.com, the website of Rubber & Plastics News, an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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