|Deal with Brazilian synthetic rubber group opens growth opportunities.|
14 December 2007 – Lanxess is to buy a 70% stake in Brazilian synthetic rubber maker Petroflex for €198m and will acquire the remaining shares under timing set by Brazilian law.
The largest synthetic rubber maker in Latin America, Petroflex has sales of some 400,000 tonnes a year and turns over €500m from a range of products including both solution and emulsion SBR types, made at three plants.
The move greatly expands the Lanxess presence in the region where it sees rapid growth prospects with tyre majors planning to invest €1bn to increase their capacities, according to chief executive officer Axel Heitmann.
Founded in 1962, Petroflex was originally part of the country’s Petrobras group and became independent in the 1970s. Lanxess’s deal includes the holdings of the current major shareholders Braskem and Unipar.
The key products from the Petroflex plant network are nearly 200,000 tonnes a year of E-SBR at Caxias, BR high CIS at Cabo and nitrile among 16 different types of rubber made the company’s newest, Triunfo plant.
Speaking at a media day held by the Bayer spin-off company in September, Heitmann made it clear that the company was well prepared to make acquisitions, based on its financial ratings.
The announcement follows news that Lanxess’ Rubber Chemicals (RUC) business unit is investing €10 million in its rubber chemicals plant in Antwerp, Belgium. The investment will be used to help establish an “innovative production process" for accelerators and provide other technical upgrades.
The Antwerp plant is a knowledge centre for rubber chemicals within the Lanxess Group and is one of the largest of its kind worldwide.