Tokyo – Sumitomo Chemical has decided to discontinue the production of ethylene-propylene-non-conjugated diene rubber (EPDM) in Chiba, Japan, amid continued rising costs.
The company will terminate the sales of EPDM by the end of March 2023, said the Japanese materials supplier in statement on 1 Sept.
Sumitomo Chemical said it had been working to increase the added value of its products and reduce manufacturing costs to strengthen the competitiveness of the EPDM business.
However, it said, the maintenance and repair costs of the 50-year-old production facility “is increasing year after year.”
“Under these circumstances, we reached the conclusion that it is difficult to secure stable profits over the medium to long term,” said the Japanese materials supplier.
Sumitomo Chemical manufactures 40 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of EPDM at the Chiba factory, under the brand Esprene.
In addition, it has a 50% share in the Petro Rabigh joint venture with Saudi Aramco, which manufactures 75ktpa of EPDM in Saudi Arabia.
Sumitomo Chemical said it will direct the Chiba EPDM resources to where it has “competitive advantage” and where it can ‘create new value’.