LONDON—Synthomer P.L.C. is reducing the production of styrene butadiene rubber latex at its manufacturing site in Marl, Germany, in response to a continued decline in demand in the market.
Following a year-long consultation process, the chemicals supplier has decided to keep the operation open but run a reduced number of reactor lines in the future, president Tim Hughes told ERJ.
"The Marl plant will absolutely be staying open and we remain committed to the site," he said in a July 29 written statement.
Synthomer operates three reactor trains in Marl, and according to Hughes the decision affects one of those three trains.
"It is a large plant with multiple lines and reactor streams. The process has determined that we can run a reduced number of reactor lines in future," he said.
The move, to be completed by early 2022, ultimately will have an impact on total manpower requirement in Marl, but according to Hughes, Synthomer expects no involuntary redundancies due to its "very constructive engagement" with employees.
The use of SBR latex in graphic paper applications has been in decline for many years as the paper market moves to electronic media.
To optimize its manufacturing process, Synthomer launched a strategic review of its SBR latex operations in late 2019, which resulted in the decision to close its plant in Oulu, Finland.
"The process ... has resulted in efficiencies and cost savings which allow Synthomer to remain a profitable, therefore healthy and reliable supplier to the market," Hughes added.
The company produces SBR latex at three European sites in Germany, Italy and Austria.
SBR latex is typically used for the coating of graphic and packaging paper, as a binder in the production of carpets, and in mattress and footwear applications.