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Two-Year Delay for Opening of Lanxess Butyl Rubber Plant

Production at Lanxess AG’s new butyl rubber facility in Singapore was initially scheduled to commence in 2012.

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But the company has announced that, due to the continuing global economic crisis, the 100,000 tpa plant will now go on stream in 2014. Lanxess states it will use this extra time to finish developing an “innovative technology for butyl rubber production” that will then be used at the new facility.

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“We expect the new capacity to be needed in 2014 at the earliest,“ said Lanxess Board of Management chairman Axel Heitmann. “Deferring the project by two years will enable us to continue development work based on a recent technological breakthrough to the point where a new process can be deployed on an industrial scale. We can then use this process in the future butyl rubber production facility on Jurong Island. That way Singapore will have the world’s most modern plant with a unique process technology.”

The company adds that development of the technology, which so far has been successfully tested on a pilot scale, will be “vigorously” driven forward over the next 24 months to enable the process to be used in Singapore. “We will invest a substantial sum for this purpose in the coming years. The new technology uses far less resources and is considerably more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly,” explained Heitmann.

From today’s perspective, Lanxess adds, capital expenditures for the new plant will be slightly lower than originally planned.

Despite the project’s deferral, Lanxess said it will continue to expand its presence in Singapore through other unrelated projects. The company is currently negotiating with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) with a view to managing its butyl rubber business unit’s global business from there in the future. “This dynamic city is the hub of our activities in Southeast Asia and continues to play a key role in our highly successful strategy for the Asian region,” said Heitmann. The Asian businesses of all 13 Lanxess business units are already operated from Singapore. (Tyres & Accessories/Staffordshire, U.K.)

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