News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

September 27, 2013

China imports of carbon black into EU to rise as Lehmann & Voss signs sales agreement with Jiangxi Black Cat

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 3:37 pm

This week, Hamburg-based chemical company Lehmann & Voss & Co. announced an exclusive sales agreement between its LUVOMAXX business unit and Jiangxi Black Cat Carbon Black Inc., Ltd., China. The agreement secures exclusive distribution rights for the LEHVOSS Group in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia and Greece. LUVOMAXX will support the existing direct contacts, mainly with the tire industry. Jiangxi Black Cat is the largest producer of carbon black in China. The LEHVOSS Group supplies the Black Cat carbon blacks in all the usual packaging forms, including silo transport from its locations in Europe. According to LEHVOSS Group’s press release on the agreement, Wenxing Chen, President of Jiangxi Black Cat Carbon Black Ltd., anticipates robust growth in exports to Europe.

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September 26, 2013

Yokohama breaks ground at Mississippi tire plant

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 3:16 pm

On September 23, Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi (YTMM, which was established by Yokohama Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its truck and bus tire manufacturing plant at West Point, Mississippi. The new plant is slated to begin operations in October 2015. Yokohama plans to make an initial US$300 million investment in the facility and employ approximately 500 people in the first phase, with possible expansion down the road. The company also plans to construct a plant equipped with production, warehousing, and operations facilities on more than 500 acres of land and will produce up to one million tires annually. This will be Yokohama’s first tire plant in the United States.

Future of Tire Technology conference coming in October

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 3:06 pm

Smithers Rapra is presenting a conference next month entitled The Future of Tire Technology that will focus on the trends, costs, compliance, automation and technology of making tires to ever-changing specifications, as well as component level tire modeling. The conference will be held October 28-30 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Details here.

Sumitomo breaks ground on Turkish tire plant

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 2:54 pm

On September 18, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. broke ground on its new $500 million tire plant factory in Cankiri Province, Turkey. Sumitomo owns 80% of the joint venture plant, with the remaining 20% held by Abdulkadir Ozcan Lastik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., a leading Turkish tire distributor and tiremaker (through Petlas Tire Industry and Trade Co.). The plant will produce radial light truck and passenger car tires with startup scheduled for July 2015 and rampup through late 2019. Capacity will reach 30,000 tires/day by 2019. The company is known as Sumitomo Rubber AKO Lastik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. (SAT).

September 25, 2013

Lanxess selling rubber chemicals business as part of major restructuring

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 2:04 pm

Last week, Lanxess responded to challenging market conditions with a sweeping new restructuring program called “Advance” that will reduce employment, cut costs, and restructure its product portfolio.

In terms of restructuring, Lanxess will maintain its current structure of 14 business units under its three established segments but is pursuing strategic options for specific non-core businesses.

These non-core activities have combined sales of roughly EUR 500 million, close to EUR 30 million in EBITDA pre exceptionals, and a headcount of roughly 1,000. The activities include the High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit’s Perlon-Monofil business line, Rubber Chemicals’ (RUC) accelerators and antioxidants business lines, and High Performance Elastomers’ (HPE) nitrile butadiene rubber business line. The affected sites are in Brunsbuettel and Dormagen, Germany, Kallo, Belgium, Bushy Park, USA, Jhagadia, India, La Wantzenau, France, and Nantong, China. All options for these sites will be considered in line with legal frameworks and local employee participation.

The Rubber Chemicals business unit is already in the midst of a restructuring program that will include closing a production plant in South Africa and downsizing its operations in Belgium.

In terms of workers, Lanxess will reduce its headcount by about 1,000 employees, or about 6% of its workforce; about 300 of these employees are located in Germany. In addition, Lanxess chairman Axel Heitmann said that there would be a 3% pay cut for all employees this year. Lanxess will book €150 million in one-off charges in 2013–14 to cover Advance.

According to Lanxess, the restructuring is a direct result of poor demand for synthetic rubber.

Mobility and catering for the tire and automotive industry—including the supply of rubber and plastics—currently accounts for 40% of Lanxess’s sales. The company wants to reduce its reliance on mobility and is seeking to strengthen its advanced intermediates and performance chemicals segments, Heitmann says. Lanxess will seek acquisitions in these areas, Heitmann says.

September 23, 2013

Michelin outlines growth plan through 2020

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:09 am

On Friday, Group Michelin released an overview of its strategic objectives through 2020 as part of its fall investors’ conference. Group Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard presented the six major Michelin Performance and Responsibility objectives for 2020:

  • Improve the performance of our products by at least 10% compared with 2010, while using fewer raw materials in their production.
  • Enhance the responsible purchasing, production and supply chain processes, in particular to improve the energy efficiency of our plants and reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Drive sustainable financial performance by delivering €1 billion in structural free cash flow per year and at least a 15% return on capital employed.
  • Pursue Group-wide programs to improve employee engagement, well-being and development.
  • Live in harmony with our host communities, by deploying employee-driven outreach programs and helping to create local jobs.
  • Promote better quality of life through clean, sustainable mobility, safer roads and recycling solutions to support a circular economy.

Here is the full presentation, which includes an updated timetable for the company’s current slate of expansions. Michelin produced its first tire at its new radial truck tire plant in Chennai, India in July 2013 and expects to produce its first giant mining tire at its new plant in South Carolina by the end of 2013.

September 22, 2013

Bridgestone considering new tire plant in Turkey

Filed under: Carbon Black, insoluble sulfur, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 11:53 pm

On September 19, Bridgestone Corporation announced that Brisa Bridgestone Sabancı Lastik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (Brisa) is evaluating potential sites for a possible new passenger car radial tire plant in Turkey. Brisa already operates a tire plant in İzmit that produces passenger car radial tires, truck and bus radial tires. Brisa was established in 1988 as a joint venture with Sabancı Holding, and the plant started the plant began production in 1990. The company did not provide details about plant size or a completion schedule.

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