Lanxess opens first Russian facility
Less than a month after inaugurating its 100,000 tonne per annum butyl rubber plant in Singapore and six weeks after launching a new curing bladder facility in Brazil, Lanxess has celebrated the opening of another production site that will serve the tyre and automotive industries. The company’s first facility in Russia, a polymer-bound rubber additives plant operated by its Rhein Chemie subsidiary, officially opened on 4 July, creating around 40 jobs; a second facility at the plant site in Lipetsk, which will produce bladders for use in tyre production, will open in 2016.
An unspecified “seven-digit figure” investment (previously said to be five million euros) has been directed towards the newly-opened and upcoming facilities, and Lanxess intends to sell the rubber additives produced in Lipetsk in the Russian and CIS markets. Annual capacity is said to be 1,500 tonnes of predispersed, polymer-bound Rhenogran rubber additives. In addition to its application in tyre manufacture, Rhenogran is used for the production of technical elastomer products such as profiles, hoses and seals. Along with delivering greater ease of handling and enabling faster processing of rubber compounds, Lanxess says the use of Rhenogran “significantly increases” the quality of rubber components and improves their long-term functionality and durability. The bladder facility will be capable of manufacturing 80,000 Rhenoshape bladders a year.
“This production site underlines our focus on the global growth markets,” stated Rainier van Roessel, member of Lanxess’ Board of Management. “That applies both to the group as a whole and to Rhein Chemie, which now has its own plants in all the BRIC markets.” Fellow Board of Management member Werner Breuers added: “Opening our first production facility in Russia marks yet another milestone in our long-term commitment to this market. Since entering the market in 2009, we have quadrupled our sales in Russia and established strategic partnerships in our target industries and with research institutes. The new facility will enable us to harness market potential more effectively, particularly in the automotive and tyre industries.”
Lanxess claims that studies show Russia’s automotive and tyre industries will enjoy mid to high single-digit annual growth in the medium-term. Therefore, Lanxess notes that the Lipetsk site, located in the same area as Yokohama’s 2012-opened passenger car tyre factory, offers great potential. “Its excellent location in close proximity to our customers and the good infrastructure in the Lipetsk Industrial Park were crucial to our decision to choose the site,” said Anno Borkowsky, managing director of Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH. “We are seeing a rise in demand from the Russian automotive and tyre industries for quality products and, thanks to our new plant and high-quality, innovative product portfolio, we can now cater to their needs directly from Russia.”
In March 2009, Lanxess established a presence in Russia through its Moscow-based sales company, OOO Lanxess. During this first year the company achieved sales of around 20 million euros; by 2012, this had grown to around 80 million euros. Lanxess has also worked closely with the Russian Academy of Sciences in the field of research and development since 2009 and has established a research network with leading Russian institutes and universities.