AUSCHWITZ, Poland—Synthos S.A. and Michelin have signed a licencing agreement allowing the chemicals group to increase the production capacity of its neodymium polybutadiene rubber plants in the Czech Republic.
The deal will allow the Polish chemical group—as licensee—to increase Nd BR capacity at the facilities to 132,000 metric tons per year from 80,000 tons per year currently, according to a March 22 statement from Synthos CEO Zbigniew Warmuz.
The memorandum of agreement, signed on Aug. 26, builds on a 2007 licensing agreement from 2007. It was entered into with licensors: Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin of Clermont-Ferrand, France; and Michelin Recherche et Technique S.A., based in Granges-Paccot, Switzerland.
Synthos did not give details of cost for extending the license, but said it comprised a flat fee and a variable component in the form of royalties depending on the sales volume of the licensed products. The deal with the French tire maker is part of a long-term strategy "of strengthening its market position and creating a modern product portfolio attracting a high level of profitability," Warmuz said.
Warmuz's comments accompanied Synthos financial statement for the 12 months to Dec. 31, 2016, which showed a 17 percent year-on-year rise in group sales to $1.2 billion but operating profit flat at $99.1 million.
The 2016 results include a strong performance for Synthos' synthetic rubber business which increased operating profit by 20 percent year-on-year to $70.4 million on sales 14 percent higher at $549.7 milion.
Synthos linked the gains to growth in the European tire market. In 2016, it noted, 206.7 million consumer replacement tires for passenger cars, SUVs and trucks up to 3.5 tons were sold in the EU—1.9 percent more than in 2015.