TOKYO—Zeon Corp.'s elastomers business reported operating income of $135 million, on 4 percent lower sales of $1.12 billion, a group financial statement for the nine months ending Dec. 31 shows.
The increased profitability comes at a time of restructure and refocus onto higher-value markets at the Japanese-based supplier of NBR and HNBR, SBR and BR rubbers for the tire and general rubber goods markets.
The company is currently closing its Zeon Europe production facility in Wales. The rubber plant in Sully, Wales, which is the Japanese group's only European manufacturing site, is scheduled to cease by the end of March 2016.
According to the company, the closure is in response to “changing market conditions” and “uncertainty in the long-term availability and supply of primary raw materials to the UK site.”
The plant employs 80 people and its nameplate production includes about 15,000 tons of nitrile rubber per year, which is mainly exported to Europe.
Zeon claims to be the world's number one manufacturer of speciality rubber for applications such as automotive radiator hoses, fuel hoses, fan belts and oil seals.