HERA takes share in Lehigh Spain, European MRP supply to start Q1 2017
When US-based specialty chemicals company Lehigh Technologies began its working relationship with Spanish waste to resources company HERA Holding several years ago, its vision was to eventually set up a facility for supplying European and other tyre makers with locally-produced micronised rubber powder (MRP). The final step towards realising this goal has now been taken through the formation of a joint venture between the two companies to operate the first MRP facility in Europe.
The joint venture, Lehigh Spain, is building a production centre in Murillo del Fruto to meet growing demand for MRP from industrial customers across the European Union and neighbouring regions. Lehigh Spain will also continue to develop new markets for the PolyDyne and MicroDyne product ranges, focusing on delivering high-performance, low-cost, sustainable raw materials for applications in the tyre, asphalt and other industrial end uses.
Lehigh and HERA Holding began developing the market for MRP in Europe in 2013 and are already selling into six countries across the region. Lehigh Spain was initially formed by Lehigh Technologies last year as the company’s representative face in the European market, a region where demand for MRP is growing. Under the new joint venture structure, HERA Holding is now a shareholder in Lehigh Spain.
“HERA’s shared vision for creating sustainable solutions makes them an ideal partner for Lehigh’s next phase of international expansion,” said Dr Alan Barton, chief executive officer of Lehigh Technologies. “We are seeing a strong market reception for MRP as companies learn that micronised rubber powder delivers a strong value proposition, and this new joint venture marks a critical step to meet that rapidly growing demand.”
The MRP plant will utilise Lehigh’s proprietary technology that has been running in the United States since 2006, with products already shipping to over 18 countries around the world. The plant project in Spain is already underway, and the first commercial shipments are expected by the end of the first quarter 2017.
“The Lehigh partnership is a strong match for HERA’s strategy to develop new technologies that can enable a more sustainable world,” said Joan Griñó, chief executive officer of HERA Holding. “Moreover, Lehigh has the best team in the industry and a market-driven approach that fits well with HERA. MRP represents a high-growth initiative for HERA, and we are committed to working together to extend our leadership across the region.”
Lehigh Spain will service the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region, including Russia. Initial manufacturing capacity is 10,000 tonnes per annum, and this will be expanded as needed in line with demand for MRP in order to ensure reliable supply.