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Bridgestone selling Chinese SR plant

Bridgestone Corp. has struck a deal to sell its ownership stake in Bridgestone (Huizhou) Synthetic Rubber Co. Ltd. (BSRC) to LCY Chemical Corp., a Taiwan-based company active in polymers, solvents and other industrial chemicals.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but Bridgestone said it expects to "make new synergy" with LCY, which it said is known for its "expertise for materials and chemicals."

Huizhou, China-based BSRC produces synthetic rubber, predominantly styrene-butadiene rubber used in passenger tires, Bridgestone said. It generated $61 million in revenue in fiscal 2020, with 133 employees. 

The sale is expected to have only "minor" impact on Bridgestone's fiscal 2021 financial results. 

Bridgestone opened the SBR plant in 2008 with a rated capacity of 50,000 metric tons per year. Bridgestone continues to operate one synthetic rubber plant, the Firestone Polymers unit in Lake Charles, La.

The deal puts Taipei, Taiwan-based LCY into the commodity rubber business for the first time. The firm's activity in polymers is in styrene-based thermoplastic elastomers and performance plastics.

The move to divest BSRC ties into Bridgestone's strategy of enhancing its business portfolio by focusing on strategic growth investments to growth business and exploratory business, as outlined in the firm's Mid Term Business Plan.

While Bridgestone is moving away from being vertically integrated in synthetic rubber, the company recently joined forces with Italian materials supplier Versalis A.G. to co-develop synthetic rubber with advanced properties for high-performance tires.

Tire Buisness