TOKYO—Sumitomo Chemical has decided to discontinue the production of ethylene-propylene-non-conjugated diene rubber (EPDM) in Chiba, Japan, amid continued rising costs.
The company will terminate the sales of EPDM by the end of March 2023, the Japanese materials supplier said in a statement on Sept. 1.
Sumitomo Chemical said it had been working to increase the added value of its products and reduce manufacturing costs to strengthen the competitiveness of the EPDM business.
However, it said, the maintenance and repair costs of the 50-year-old production facility "is increasing year after year."
"Under these circumstances, we reached the conclusion that it is difficult to secure stable profits over the medium to long term," the Japanese materials supplier said.
Sumitomo Chemical manufactures 40,000 metric tons per year of EPDM at the Chiba factory, under the brand Esprene.
It also has a 50-percent share in the Petro Rabigh joint venture with Saudi Aramco, which manufactures 75,000 tons of EPDM in Saudi Arabia.
Sumitomo Chemical said it will direct the Chiba EPDM resources to where it has a "competitive advantage" and where it can "create new value."