LANXESS is strengthening its commitment to Brazil with three major new investments totaling roughly EUR 30 million, or R$ 75 million, which will create more than 100 jobs. The investments will support the growing trend toward green mobility in the Latin American country. LANXESS' high-tech materials will offer innovative solutions to the growing local automotive market.
"We are making major investments that will ensure that we participate in the current and future success of the Brazilian economy," said LANXESS chairman of the board Axel C. Heitmann.
The three investments include construction of two new plants at LANXESS' Porto Feliz site in the State of Sao Paulo. One is for the production of the high-tech engineering plastics Durethan and Pocan — used primarily by the automotive industry to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient. The new plant, which will be run by the business unit Semi-Crystalline Products, will have an initial capacity of 20,000 metric tons per year. The plant will go on stream in the middle of 2013. The other new Porto Feliz plant will produce the rubber additives Rhenogran as well as Rhenoshape curing bladders. Rhenogran pre-dispersed rubber additives can significantly improve the quality and durability of a rubber product, while Rhenoshape bladders are used by the tire industry to give tires their final shape and properties. The plant will be run by LANXESS' subsidiary, Rhein Chemie, based in Mannheim, Germany. It will have an output of 2,000 metric tons per year of rubber additives and produce 170,000 bladders per year. The plant will start in the fourth quarter of 2012. "We will turn our Porto Feliz site into a major specialty chemicals hub with the latest technology for our customers in Brazil and Latin America," said Heitmann. LANXESS is already successfully operating a modern plant for inorganic pigments in Porto Feliz.
The third investment involves a pioneering move to use bio-based raw materials in the production of synthetic rubber. LANXESS is re-engineering parts of its plant in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, in order to produce EPDM rubber from bio-based ethylene. The Brazilian company, Braskem S.A., will supply the ethylene, derived from sugarcane, by pipeline as of November 2011. This represents the world's first production of bio-based EPDM rubber which will be named Keltan Eco. A quarter of the 40,000 metric tons annual capacity at the Triunfo plant is earmarked for Keltan Eco. "The use of bio-based raw materials to produce synthetic rubber at the Triunfo plant is in keeping with LANXESS' ongoing commitment to green chemistry," said Heitmann.