By Liz White, ERJ staff
Heerlen, the Netherlands-DSM's elastomers business is back in profit. â€œHaving posted an operating loss in the previous year, DSM Elastomers succeeded in closing last year on an operating profit,â€ the group's annual results statement said.
â€œDemand for EPDM rubber picked up again in 2004,â€ and despite surging raw material prices, â€œwe were able to pass on the price rises to our customers.â€ DMS Elastomers said. â€œMargins improved in all regions,â€ and this, combined with results of restructuring, â€œresulted in a sharp improvement in the business group's operating result,â€ the group commented.
DSM Elastomers (which currently includes the performance fibres unit DSM Dyneema) reported turnover in 2004 of Euros 583 million versus Euros 493 million in 2003. Profits are not reported separately for each unit, but the performance materials business as a whole raised profits to Euros 147million in 2004 from Euros 90 million the previous year, on total sales of Euro 2013 million (Euros 1777 million in 2003).
DSM Elastomers claims to be the world market leader in EPDM, with a production capacity of around 200 kilotonnes per annum and a market share of some 20 percent. It also says it is the world's second largest supplier of thermoplastic rubber with its Sarlink TPV.
DSM Elastomers has a 150-ktpa EPDM production plant in Geleen, the Netherlands, some 80-ktpa of which was commissioned in 2003. Its only other EPDM plant currently is a 35-ktpa facility in Triunfo in Brazil, although DSM Elastomers boss Ben van Kooten (pictured) told ERJ in late 2003 that he would like to set up an EPDM facility in China. In TPVs it has two 10 ktpa plants-in Genk, Belgium, and in Leominster, Massachusetts.
In 2004, DSM said its other rubber business-SBR-â€œderived considerable benefit from the improved market conditions in the tyre industry.â€ This unit was separated out from the elastomers unit and is part of DSM Venturing & Business Development, a unit which manages a number of operations characterised as â€œgrown-ups.â€
Closure of the Addis and Chiba units â€œenabled us to significantly improve our cost position,â€ DSM Elastomers said. The group also referred to â€œ new production methods for both EPDM products and motor-oil additives, saying the new applications for diesel engines are the only available that meet the â€œextremely stringent MACK-11 specifications.â€
Picture: Ben Van Kooten, head of the DSM Elastomers business is keen to have an EPDM plant in China.