Japanese synthetic rubber producer JSR Corp. and Hungarian petrochemicals firm MOL Group are setting up a joint venture to build a solution-SBR (S-SBR) plant in Hungry to serve growing demand for the rubber in Europe.
The plant, to be built on MOL property in Tiszaújváros in eastern Hungary, is expected to come on stream by 2017 with an initial annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons, MOL said. The joint venture partners did not disclose the expected investment or annual revenue.
The venture, to be 51-percent owned by JSR, offers JSR and MOL access to Western Europe, a focal point for major tire manufacturers, as well as to Central/Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey, where tire capacity investment is growing.
The venture takes advantage of MOL’s plant infrastructures and JSR’s S-SBR production technologies and sales networks, the partners said.
S-SBR is considered a “highly valued” raw material, the partners said, because of its use in fuel-efficient tires, demand for which is growing in light of fuel-efficiency rating systems being rolled out in Europe, Japan and South Korea.
The establishment of the joint venture is subject to obtaining the necessary clearance from the relevant competition authorities.
To support the joint venture, MOL will build, through its TVK subsidiary, a 130,000-ton-per-year butadiene extraction unit at the same location. It is expected to be in operation by 2015.
MOL describes itself as an integrated Central and East European oil and gas corporation with extensive upstream and downstream assets, including five refineries and two petrochemical units.
The partnership with JSR provides MOL the opportunity to further diversify its petrochemical product line along the value chain.