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East West Copolymer signs deal with marketing firm

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East West Copolymer Lion Copolymer SBR plant Baton
Photo by RPN photo by Edward Noga The former Lion Copolymer plant has reopened as East West Copolymer & Rubber L.L.C.

BATON ROUGE, La.—East West Copolymer & Rubber L.L.C. has signed T.L. Squire & Co. Inc. to handle sales and marketing of SBR produced by the revived Baton Rouge plant to non-tire rubber product makers in North America.

T.L. Squire is filling a role long held by Harwick Standard Distribution Corp. That arrangement ended when the Baton Rouge facility was closed by parent Lion Copolymer L.L.C., and Harwick Standard then became the U.S. and Canadian distributor of SBR and butadiene rubber made by Synthos S.A., the Polish synthetic rubber producer.

East West Copolymer's factory has resumed operation, said Brad K. Smothers, marketing manager for the newly formed company. The business is led by President and CEO Greg Nelson, who was CEO of Lion Copolymer for six years, and is managed and operated by former employees of the facility.

“The relationship that T.L. Squire has with the Baton Rouge SBR plant dates back more than two decades,” Nelson said. “We are very pleased that they are now part of our team as we resume production there.”

T.L. Squire is named after its founder, Terry L. Squire, who formed the company in 1982 to market wide specification, off-grade and scrap rubber, primarily SBR and polybutadiene. Since then T.L. Squire has added most synthetic rubbers to its portfolio and has gone beyond the off-spec material to handle prime and near-prime rubber and market material throughout the world.

Smothers said T.L. Squire President Joe Wozny has a long relationship with the Baton Rouge company.

“T.L. Squire will work mostly on the same basis as Harwick Standard, but we will work closer with these guys,” Smothers said, since East West Copolymer is starting off at a smaller scale than its previous operation.

“Our sales organization won't have as many people involved as before. We will lean heavy on T.L. Squire while the volume moves up,” he said.

Like Harwick Standard, T.L. Squire is based in Akron.

Nelson, Alto Cheung and his company, Horizons Up Consulting, and former managers at the Baton Rouge plant announced in February a tentative agreement to buy the factory from Lion Copolymer for an undisclosed sum.

The new owners worked rapidly to reopen the facility, which is operating with a smaller staff of personnel who previously worked at the operation.

The Baton Rouge plant has two black masterbatch and two clear SBR lines, and the company plans to operate all of them. The SR producer also aims to return to producing nitrile rubber.