As the automotive industry grows in Brazil, Rhein Chemie, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lanxess, opened a new facility in Porto Feliz for high-performance bladders (curing bladders), which are used in the production of tires.
“With this investment in Brazil, the world’s sixth largest economy, we reaffirm our focus on the emerging markets,” said Rainier van Roessel, board member of Lanxess. “We want to share in the positive development of the automotive and tire industries in Latin America.”
Brazil is one of the fastest-growing markets for Lanxess. The country accounted for less than 1% of Lanxess’ global sales in 2005 but now accounts for roughly 10% of global sales.
The new plant, in which Lanxess invested $12.9 million has an annual capacity of about 170,000 bladders. The company will create 60 new jobs.
More and more tire manufacturers are outsourcing bladder production in order to concentrate on their core business. Rhein Chemie entered the bladder market about two and a half years ago with the acquisition of the Argentinian company Darmex. With the purchase of U.S. company Tire Curing Bladders in 2012, Rhein Chemie is now the largest independent bladder manufacturer in the world.
Porto Feliz is a large site for Lanxess with 260 employees. Rhein Chemie has been producing rubber additives for ten years there. The business unit Inorganic Pigments also houses a production unit at the site and a new plant for high-tech engineering plastics is currently under construction and will be started up in the second half of 2013.
Also in 2014, a new facility to manufacture pre-dispersed polymer-bound rubber additives (Rhenogran), with a capacity of 1,800 metric tons per year, will be added.