TOKYO (Jan 21)—Japan Synthetic Rubber Corp. has entered a contract manufacturing agreement with Dow Europe GmbH for Dow to supply JSR with solution SBR products from its plant in Schkopau, Germany. JSR also is planning to increase the annual capacity of its S-SBR facility in Yokkaichi, Japan, by 40 percent to 35,000 metric tons. The off-take deal with Dow should take effect in mid-2003. Plant scale trial runs already have been completed successfully and commercial production quantities of S-SBR are planned to start during the second or third quarter, JSR said. The expansion at Yokkaichi, to be achieved by improving production technology and upgrading facilities, is due to come on stream by November, according to JSR. Both projects are intended to meet growing demand for high-performance S-SBR in Japan and overseas, the company said. The rubber is used in silica-reinforced tires, which feature low rolling resistance for better fuel economy.