London – Synthomer plc is expanding its nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) latex capacity by roughly 40% with the construction of a new production plant in Asia, the UK group has confirmed to ERJ.
The facility will be built in an undisclosed location and will have a capacity to produce 200 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of NBR latex, said president Tim Hughes in a written statement.
Set to come on stream in 2024, the project is estimated to cost £150-200 million (€177-236 million), he said in a 7 Aug statement.
“We will disclose the location in Asia in due course but [I can] confirm long lead items have been procured in the first phase of the investment,” he added.
Furthermore, the UK supplier expects its 60ktpa NBR latex expansion project at Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, to come on stream in the first quarter of 2022.
In its half-year financial report 5 Aug, Synthomer said the its nitriles business continued to benefit from “significant investment in capacity and technology”.
NBR, it said, remains an area of long-term growth, driven by megatrends around hygiene and health, particularly in emerging markets.
"Whilst demand levels are likely to normalise early in first half of 2022, the growth opportunities in NBR are compelling and underpin today’s announcement," said Synthomer's half-year report. .
For the first half of 2021, Synthomer saw earnings (EBITDA) rise 238% to £322 million on 73% higher sales of £1.2 billion.
Overall volumes rose 19% to 909 kilotonnes, with performance elastomers unit – NBR latex and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) latex – posting the highest growth of 400% to 224 kilotonnes.
For the second half of the year, Synthomer said it expected growth across its core divisions to continue, with ongoing high levels of demand for NBR as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.