UpdateLANXESS starts construction of new Nd-PBR unit in Singapore

11 September 2012 10:36  [Source: ICIS news]

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SINGAPORE (ICIS)--LANXESS on Tuesday began construction of its new €200m ($256m) neodymium-based performance rubber (Nd-PBR) plant at Jurong Island in Singapore, officials from the Germany-based producer said.

The new 140,000 tonne/year plant is expected to start up in the first half of 2015, they said.

The plant will get the majority of its butadiene feedstock from Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore, said Joachim Grub, head of LANXESS' performance butadience rubbers business unit.

"PCS is now building a new extraction unit to supply the majority of the feedstock for the new plant," Grub added without giving more details.

LANXESS and PCS have earlier signed an agreement on the long-term supply, via pipeline, of butadiene from PCS to LANXESS, the company said in a statement.

Singapore's TP Utilities will provide steam to the new plant while Foster Wheeler Asia Pacific has been selected to carry out the detailed engineering and construction of the plant, Grub said.

The plant will create about 100 new jobs in Singapore, according to Axel Heitmann, chairman of the board of management of LANXESS.

Nd-PBR is used in the treads and sidewalls of “green tyres” that enhance fuel efficiency and reduce noise - the fastest growing sector in the tyre industry - with an annual global growth rate of about 10%, LANXESS said.

Growth for these tyres is even more pronounced in Asia at 13% per annum, the company said.

The demand for such tyres is being driven by the growing middle class globally, especially in Asia and Latin America, as well as tyre labelling measures being introduced around the world, it said.

The EU will launch mandatory tyre labelling in November this year in which tyres will be graded according to their fuel efficiency and wet grip, according to LANXESS.

Japan and South Korea were the first countries in the world to introduce a label system while other countries like Brazil, the US and China are expected to follow in the coming years, it said.

Meanwhile, the company's new 100,000 tonne/year butyl rubber unit is on track to be started up in the first quarter of 2013, according to company officials.

The butyl rubber plant, LANXESS' single-largest investment at €400m, is located next to the new Nd-PBR unit on Jurong Island.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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