ERJ staff report (PR)
Tokyo - Asian producers of solution-polymerised styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) will require tight control of costs to deal with a glut of new capacity coming on stream, Asahi Kasei Corp. president Toshio Asano has warned.
Demand for S-SBR, particularly for use in fuel-efficient tires, is growing at a rate not expected a few years back. This has prompted a scramble among suppliers to initiate capacity expansions.
Asahi Kasei is building a new 50-kilotonne per annum plant on Jurong Island, Singapore in addition to similarly-sized facility started up there in April 2013. The project will augment capacity at the company’s existing sites in Japan.
But it is not just Asahi, the company’s boss noted in a mid-term update on the progress and outlook of the business. Other Japanese companies, he said, are also increasing their capacity, and pushing up production volumes rapidly.
“We anticipate that once all these come on stream, we will face fierce price and quality competition,” said Asano. “Therefore, we are striving to further reduce costs and realise technological innovations proactively so that we will be able to survive in the global market.”