Rhein Chemie acquires US bladder manufacturer
German specialty chemicals manufacturer Lanxess says its position as a premium supplier to the tyre industry has been strengthened by its subsidiary Rhein Chemie’s acquisition of US-based bladder manufacturer Tire Curing Bladders LLC (TCB) for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which closed with immediate effect, sees Rhein Chemie as the proud owner of a firm with the capacity to produce more than 400,000 bladders per annum. TCB primarily serves the North American market and achieved sales of more than US$21 million in 2011. The company employs around 100 people.
“The acquisition of TCB is a further cornerstone in our strategy to position Rhein Chemie as a global producer of high-quality bladders,” said Lanxess Board member Rainier van Roessel. “We are gaining capacities to serve our growing list of tyre customers and we also gain access to bladders for tyres of trucks, off-road and agricultural vehicles, as well as building machines.” Vernon Almon and Mark Nutt, former joint owners of TCB, added: “We are delighted that Rhein Chemie will give our committed workforce the platform to achieve even more success through its global reach and well-known brands.”
Rhein Chemie first gained access to bladder production last year through the acquisition of Argentina’s Darmex. Rhein Chemie bladders are marketed under the Rhenoshape brand. “Rhenoshape bladders, together with our comprehensive portfolio of environmentally friendly Rhenodiv release agents, provide tyre manufacturers worldwide with premium solutions for significantly increasing their efficiency and quality. Our future developments will continue to expand these competencies,” said Anno Borkowsky, head of Rhein Chemie.
Demand for bladders is expected to grow in line with global tyre production, which Lanxess notes is expected to increase by an average annual rate of five per cent in the coming years. Furthermore, the company says an increasing number of tyre manufacturers are outsourcing their bladder production in order to optimise productivity and take advantage of the higher quality offered by bladder specialists. Lanxess estimates that size of the global bladder market to be more than 300 million euros.