KOBE, Japan (Dec. 21, 2009)—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. is establishing its own natural rubber plantation and NR processing plant in Thailand in a joint venture deal with a local company.
Sumitomo said it is taking this step to stabilize the quality and procurement of NR and alleviate possible risk caused by fluctuating NR prices.
Establishing these joint ventures will help Sumitomo speed up its research and development toward enhancing the performance of fossil-resource-free tires and high fuel-efficient tires.
Sumitomo's joint venture partner is Thai Eastern Group Co. Ltd., a Chon Buri, Thailand-based agricultural enterprise with interests in rubber, palm oil and other crops.
Sumitomo and Thai Eastern will set up two ventures: Sumirubber Thai Eastern Plantation is being set up this month but it will be 2014 before tapping can begin; and Sumirubber Thai Eastern for processing NR, to be established by February 2010 with processing to start in 2011.
Sumitomo will own 49 percent of the plantation venture and 70 percent of the processing company. The ventures are capitalized at $12 million and $6 million and will have 10 and 140 employees, respectively, Sumitomo said.