Geleen, Netherlands -- DSM has said its two elastomers business are no longer part of its core activities. The company said, "Those businesses ... will be carved out and divested ... to new owners for whom there is a stronger strategic fit and under whose ownership they can prosper further." The company specifically said its two elastomers businesses -- EPDM and Sarlink TPV -- are for sale following a business review.
DSM intends to focus on its specialty Life Sciences (Nutrition and Pharma) and Materials Sciences (Performance Materials) businesses.
The elastomer business has had a troubled history within the DSM group. Over the last five years the group has restructured the elastomers activity, laying off workers, closing two plants (in Addis, Louisiana and Chiba, Japan). Meanwhile it has tightened the reporting structures and invested heavily to build a third line at Geleen, the Netherlands.
The company chose not to develop metallocene catalysts a decade ago but in January of this year, revealed a new catalysis system called ACE (Advanced Catalyst Elastomers), which is claimed to offer similar benefits to the metallocene systems developed by competitors Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil Chemical.
DSM elastomers has around 200 kt/year capacity for traditional EPDM ter-polymers. The other leading players in the ethylene elastomer business -- Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil have concentrated on developing elastomers that can be processed thermoplastically, increasing the range of materials they offer. DSM by contrast has focussed on EPDM materials and its range of TPVs under the name Sarlink.
Overall, following a long period of restructuring, DSM elastomers appears to be well positioned for recovery.
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Press release from DSM