BATON ROUGE, La.—Lion Copolymer Ltd. will temporarily close its Baton Rouge SBR manufacturing facility by Feb. 3, idling one of the world's first commercial production sites for synthetic rubber.
The company blamed the closure on economic conditions. The duration of the closure has not been determined.
“Declining market conditions for domestically produced replacement tires and conveyor belting, global over-capacity of SBR supply and volatility in key raw materials have resulted in unfavorable SBR market conditions in recent years,” Lion Copolymer President Jesse Zeringue said in a news release. “As a result, Lion's SBR business has not generated sufficient returns necessary to support the continued reinvestment required to adequately sustain the SBR business.”
Zeringue said the company will work with employees during the transition. The firm's statement didn't list how many employees will be affecting by the action, and company officials couldn't be reached for further comment.
Formerly known as Copolymer Rubber and Chemical Corp. and then DSM Copolymer, the plant originally was established in 1943 by the U.S. government during World War II. The Baton Rouge facility also is capable of producing nitrile rubber, though the firm didn't indicate whether any production of that material would continue.
The shutdown will not impact Lion's Royalene EDPM plant in Geismar, La., which employs more than 113 as well as 150 permanent contractors. Lion expanded its capacity at the Geismar plant in 2011 and 2012, from 205 million pounds to 285 million pounds, investing more than $70 million.
Lion is majority owned by private equity firm Goradia Capital L.L.C.