Japanese firm sets up elastomer plant in Brazil


Chasing demand from a growing automotive industry in Brazil, Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical (Tokyo) plans to construct a plant to manufacture its Thermorun olefin-based thermoplastic elastomer in the city of Atibaia, São Paulo State. The 4600-tonnes/yr facility is slated for start-up in the second quarter of 2014.

The plant will be operated by Mitsubishi Chemical Polimeros de Desempenho Ltda, owned 99% by Mitsubishi Chemical and 1% by its US-based affiliate Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers Inc. (Greer, SC).

Brazil manufactured 3.34 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2012, which represented a 1.9% year-on-year decline. The industry has picked up, however, in the first month of this year, with shipments up 31.9% compared with January 2012 and 7.7% over December 2012. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants (Munich, Germany) forecasts two scenarios for growth in the market from 2011 through to 2017: a conservative estimate of 4% growth to reach 4.3 million vehicles; and an optimistic one of 9% growth to reach 5.8 million units.
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