Germany's Lanxess starts work on Singapore rubber factory
German chemicals giant Lanxess on Monday broke ground on a 400-million euro (490 million US dollars) plant in Singapore as it moves to meet rising demand for tyres in China and India.
The company said it will channel at least 10 percent of the investment towards "modern technologies engineered to protect the environment" through a cleaner and more energy-efficient manufacturing process.
"In terms of volume, this investment is the largest in our five-year history," Axel C. Heitmann, chief executive officer of Lanxess, said in a statement.
"It underlines our commitment to synthetic rubber as well as our customers and to the future growth markets in Asia."
The plant will start producing butyl rubber, a chemical used to make tyres, in the first quarter of 2013, the company said in a statement.
Located in Jurong island, a petrochemicals base that has attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment, the 100,000-tonne per annum Singapore plant will become the hub of Lanxess' Asian operations.
The company said the factory will enable it to meet rising demand for butyl rubber in China and India where rapidly expanding middle classes are buying more cars.
Butyl rubber is also a key product in the pharmaceuticals industry, primarily in Asia, Lanxess said.
It said the firm's butyl rubber plants in Belgium and Canada are already producing at full capacity.
Lanxess' customers include global tyre brands Bridgestone, Michelin, Hankook and Yokohama.
© 2010 AFP