Tokyo – JSR Corp. has responded to media reports that it is considering the sale of its elastomers business segment with a comment that “this is not something that the company has announced.”
Although JSR is “conducting various studies regarding structural reform [see ERJ report], there are no matters to disclose at this time,” the statement from Eric Johnson, representative director, CEO, further emphasised.
The Tokyo-based group’s response came amid reports by Korean press about ongoing talks between JSR and South Korean companies for a potential divestment of the unit.
These suggested that JSR had reached out to Lotte Chemical, LG Chem and Kumho Petrochemical Co. regarding the divestment of its elastomer business, which contributes about 40% of total group sales.
The portfolio includes styrene-butadiene rubbers (ESBR and SSBR), polybutadiene rubber, polyisoprene, nitrile rubber, butyl rubber, ethylene-propylene rubber and thermoplastics elastomers.
For the year ended 31 March 2020, the elastomers unit reported an operating loss of Yen1.8 billion (€15.4 million), on sales down 11% year-on-year to Yen178.8 billion.
The business has remained in red for the first three quarters – to 31 Dec – of JSR’s current fiscal year, despite market recovery in the final three months of last year.
For the first nine months of 2020, the elastomers unit reported an operating loss of Yen12.7 billion on 27% lower sales of Yen99.3 billion in sales.
Sales volume for the period fell 18% year-on-year to come in just under 380 kilotonnes. JSR also reported.
JSR plant profile: rubber and plastics 2019