Latest Rhein Chemie Acquisition a ‘Springboard’ for Further Investments
In the coming years, Lanxess subsidiary Rhein Chemie plans to expand its production of curing bladders for the tyre industry. These plans have been given a boost by its acquisition of Argentina based curing bladder and release agent manufacturer Darmex S.A. for an undisclosed sum. As a result of the acquisition, Lanxess reports that Rhein Chemie will become one of the “world’s leading providers of release agents for rubber products in a highly fragmented market.” Rhein Chemie will also acquire Darmex’s bladder technology in Latin America, a key production hub for leading tyre manufacturers. The release agents and bladders belonging to Darmex will be branded under Rhein Chemie brand name.
“This acquisition enhances Rhein Chemie’s position as an innovative technology provider to the tyre industry and strengthens Lanxess’ standing as the world’s leading synthetic rubber company,” said company board member Rainier van Roessel. “Darmex’s portfolio of highly-reliable products fits perfectly into our strategy of focusing on tailor-made solutions for our customers in growth markets.”
The transaction will close with immediate effect and does not require prior approval by any authority. Lanxess will finance the acquisition from existing liquidity and expects the transaction to be EPS accretive in 2011. In acquiring Darmex, Rhein Chemie has become the owner of a company with 200 employees and production sites in Argentina (Burzaco and Merlo) and Uruguay (Colonia). Darmex has customers in more than 50 countries and is reportedly the only bladder producer in the world also able to supply tyre manufacturers with highly innovative release agents.
“We are delighted to be teaming up with Rhein Chemie, whose well-renowned brands and strong standing in Europe and Asia will give our employees the platform to achieve even more success,” said Darmex’s global director of Marketing and Sales José Sganga.
Demand for release agents and bladders, says Lanxess, is expected to expand in tandem with global tyre production – an expected average growth of five per cent per annum in the next ten years. Much of this expansion is being driven by a growing middle-class in countries such as Brazil, China and India. In addition, an increasing number of tyre companies are outsourcing their bladder production in order to optimise productivity and take advantage of the higher quality offered by bladder specialists. The size of the global bladder market is estimated at more than 300 million euros, Lanxess reports.
Rhein Chemie’s chief executive officer Anno Borkowsky said the acquisition of Darmex will act as a springboard for further investments to strengthen its position in the rapidly expanding BRIC nations. “For example, we are currently considering new facilities to manufacture bladders and polymerbound chemicals in Brazil and mainland China, as well as a new plant for lubricant oil additives in India,” he said. A further project commenced last year is the construction of a plant in the Nizhny Novgorod region of Russia to produce rubber additives and release agents primarily for the local tyre and technical rubber market.