If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Trinseo will sell rubber business to Synthos

The deal is the second recent transaction involving specialized rubber for tires

by Alexander H. Tullo
May 26, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 20


A photo from a Synthos plant
Credit: Synthos
Synthos is a synthetic rubber producer based in Poland.

Another long-time synthetic rubber producer is exiting the business. The styrenic polymer maker Trinseo has agreed to sell its synthetic rubber unit to Polish competitor Synthos for $491 million, including about $42 million in pension liabilities.

The Trinseo business had sales last year of $320 million. The unit’s manufacturing, R&D, and most of its 440 employees are located in Schkopau, Germany.

Some two thirds of the business’s sales come from solution-polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR), a premium grade of rubber used in fuel-efficient tires. Trinseo also makes emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber. It shuttered polybutadiene rubber capacity late last year.

The transaction is the second recent strategic move for Trinseo. Earlier this month, the US company completed the $1.4 billion purchase of Arkema’s polymethylmethacrylate business. Through the two deals, Trinseo is hoping for stronger, and more stable, profits. The rubber unit earned $41 million before taxes in 2019 but only $2 million last year.

“This should bolster margins and reduce volatility,” Jefferies Financial Group stock analyst Laurence Alexander writes in a note to clients.

Synthos, which has annual sales of roughly $2 billion, makes a slate of synthetic rubbers similar to Trinseo’s. The company says the acquisition will broaden its geographic reach and add higher-end products. Synthos projects that merging the two businesses will unlock $25 million in annual cost savings.

Japan’s JSR inked a similar agreement earlier this month when it announced plans to transfer its synthetic rubber business to the Japanese refiner Eneos for about $1 billion. That business, which generates about $1.3 billion in annual sales, is also primarily an SSBR producer. JSR is divesting the business so it can focus on electronic materials and life sciences.

For Eneos, the purchase is a way to diversify away from fuels and into chemicals, where it sees better growth prospects. “Eneos expects tires to be needed regardless of changes in power sources and forms,” the company says. A similar motivation drove the Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco to fully purchase Lanxess’ synthetic rubber business, now called Arlanxeo, in 2018.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.