The elastomers business accounted for about $272 million in sales for the 12 months that ended June 30, or about 17 percent of Ashland Performance Materials' $1.6 billion in revenue, according to Ashland. The business mainly serves the North American replacement tire market with emulsion SBR, but it also supplies elastomers for flooring, shoe soles, adhesives and sealants, automotive parts and industrial rubber goods.
Ashland acquired the business in August 2011 as part of its purchase of International Specialty Products. At the time, the elastomers unit had annual sales of $410 million, according to information in Ashland's fiscal 2013 annual report.
That report also said the segment reported a $50 million decline in gross profit from the prior year because of a $20 million inventory charge, along with price increases not being sufficient to cover the rising costs of butadiene.
Lion Copolymer closed its SBR plant in Baton Rouge, La., last December. The firm sold the operation earlier this year to a group of investors and former managers of the operation, calling the business East West Copolymer & Rubber L.L.C.
Lion Copolymer itself continued to produce EPDM rubbr at facilities in Geismar, La.
“With the acquisition of the Ashland elastomers business, we are pleased once again to be in this segment of the synthetic rubber business,” said Jesse Zeringue, executive vice president of Lion Copolymer Holdings.
“We think the size of the facility in Port Neches, access to feedstock and excellent storage capacity, combined with specialty products, such as hot styrene-butadiene rubber polymers and high styrene polymers, provide us with an excellent growth opportunity.
“We were also impressed by the quality of the operations and the plant, which has benefited from significant investment over the years.”