Ube Industries,Ltd. (President: Kazumasa Tsunemi) has decided to expand its facilities in Thailand at group member company Thai Synthetic Rubbers Co., Ltd. (TSL) for the production of the synthetic rubber known as butadiene rubber. We aim to expand annual production capacity to 72,000 tons form the current level of 56,000 tons, with a target completion date of January 2006.
Our butadiene rubber has outstanding durability and workability, because we use a cobalt catalyst to create a multi-layered butadiene structure. Demand has been growing in the areas of tires, household appliances and office automation equipment. We ship these products to major tire manufacturers and makers of polystyrene products in Japan and abroad.
Our production capacity is already the largest of any company in Asia, with 85,000 tons a year at our Chiba petrochemicals plant, for use primarily in highly specialized products, and 56,000 tons a year at TSL in Thailand, primarily for ordinary products. When the new expansion is completed, we will have nearly a 10% share of the global market for butadiene rubber, putting us in the top class of independent butadiene rubber makers.
Global demand for butadiene rubber has been on the upswing since the second quarter of 2002, spurred in part by expansion of facilities by Japanese tire manufacturers. Another factor has been the use of butadiene rubber as a means of improving [over] polystyrene in some applications. Demand has been very robust both in Japan and abroad, and we expect that this trend will continue in the future.
Supplies of butadiene, a key ingredient of this compound, are currently tight, leading to sharply rising prices. In the Chiba area, our company has a joint venture with Maruzen Petrochemical Co. known as Chiba Butadiene Industry Co., giving us access to stable supplies at affordable prices, enhancing our own cost-competitiveness.
Access to a stable supply of the raw material butadiene is a necessary condition for our decision to increase production facilities at TSL, and we have already taken the necessary steps to ensure this.
Our company is pursuing two routes in our strategy in the area of butadiene rubber: one is an increasing specialization in special-grade products, and the other is to further distinguish our products from those of our competitors. In keeping with this strategy, we are focusing on our Vinyl Cis Rubber (VCR), which is a specialized product aimed at tire makers, and on our bimodal grade, which can be used to improve polystyrene. It is our aim that in the future we remain in a position to respond to increasing demand, and we hope to continue to expand our business worldwide supplying from our two factories located in Chiba and Thailand.
|Date of establishment||December 1995|
|Plant location||Rayong, Thailand|
|Major shareholders||Ube Industries 73.1%, Marubeni 13.0%, TSRC Corporation (Taiwan) 13.0%, etc|
|Changes in production capability||50,000 ton (at the start of production in January 1998)
56,000 ton (increased by enlargement of capacity by de-bottlenecking in June 2004)
|Representative||Dr. Charunya Phichtitkul (and Executive Officer of Ube Industries,Ltd.)|
|Number of employees||80|
|Annual revenue||2,015 million Thai bahts (2003 actual)|