SULLY, Wales—Zeon Chemicals Europe is in the process of shutting down its synthetic rubber plant in Sully according to a source close to the company.
Mainly producing nitrile rubber—NBR and NBR-Lx and HNBR—the plant, which was built in the 1950s, was bought by Zeon from BP Chemicals in 1989.
In a short statement, Japanese parent group Zeon Corp. announced on April 1 that it was “considering the discontinuation of its production operation.”
ERJ's source, however, said that the company was in redundancy consultation with its 84 employees and would make a decision once the consultation period was over.
Zeon cited changing market conditions and uncertainty in long-term availability and supply of primary raw materials to the Wales site as the primary reasons for its decision.
Production at the Wales plant currently includes about 10,000 tons per annum of nitrile rubber, which is exported to Europe.
According to the source, the Welsh operation has been under increasing competitive pressures from rival producers in Asia as well as in the US where suppliers are benefiting from low-cost shale-derived feedstock.