MANNHEIM, Germany (July 12, 2011) — Wacker Chemie A.G. has sold its silicone-based tire-release-agent business to Lanxess A.G.'s Rhein Chemie Rheinau G.m.b.H. subsidiary for an undisclosed price.
As part of the agreement, Rhein Chemie acquires the rights to related product formulations, as well as existing segment-specific contracts and inventories. Furthermore, Wacker will supply Rhein Chemie with the required silicone raw materials, among other products.
The business generated annual sales of about $6 million to $8 million, the companies said.
“Acquiring Wacker Chemie's tire release agents business strengthens our already good position in the tire industry and makes us the world's leading supplier of tire release agents,” said Rhein Chemie CEO Anno Borkowsky.
Rhein Chemie expects the market for these products to grow about 5 percent per year in the medium term. The acquisition also opens up new business opportunities for Rhein Chemie, especially in the U.S., the firm Mannheim-based firm said.
The majority of the acquired products are aqueous, solvent-free dispersions based on silicone. Rhein Chemie will market them under the name Rhenodiv.
The acquisition reinforces Rhein Chemie's position in the semi-permanent release agents and bladder coatings markets, said Frank Lueckgen, executive vice president of Rhein Chemie's rubber division.
Semi-permanent release agents improve the cost-efficiency of tire production, Rhein Chemie said, because a single coating is enough for several de-molding operations.
Tire release agents support uniform vulcanization of the tire in the press and ensure easy release of the finished tire from the bladder and mold. The choice of release agent has an impact on the cost-efficiency of the production process, and on the quality and appearance of the finished tire, Rhein Chemie said.
“This divestiture streamlines our portfolio of products and solutions,” said Carlos Weise, president of the Wacker Silicones division.
This is Rhein Chemie's third acquisition in this field this year. At the beginning of the year, it acquired the Argentinian tire release agent and bladder manufacturer Darmex S.A., and within the last few weeks took over the Vocol and Santoweb product lines from Flexsys S.A.
“In contrast to Rhein Chemie, Wacker does not focus on tire-industry applications. Moreover, a multiyear agreement ensures that Rhein Chemie will continue to be supplied with our silicones for the manufacture of tire-release agents,” the company said
The companies did not say what, if any, physical assets are included in the deal, nor how many employees are affected.
Rhein Chemie develops, produces and sells additives, specialty chemicals and service products for the rubber, lubricant and plastics industries. In 2010, it reported sales of $375 million with approximately 1,000 employees worldwide.