[image_0]After Burzaco, Argentina, and Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, Porto Feliz will be Rhein Chemie's third site to produce Rhenoshape bladders. Production capacity in Porto Feliz will be 170,000 bladders annually. Rhein Chemie entered the bladder business by acquiring the Argentinian company Darmex S.A. in January of this year. In Burzaco, Argentina, production capacity for bladders currently is being expanded by 40 %. According to the company, in 2010 Rhein Chemie's global sales were EUR 283 million, corresponding to a sales rise of 40 % compared to the previous year. Global sales in the first half of 2011 climbed by 19 % compared to the previous year to around EUR 172 million. Sales in the EMEA region were up 22 %, while business in Asia grew by 8 %. Significant growth was also recorded in South America. "This is primarily due to the acquisition of the Argentinian curing bladder and tyre release agent manufacturer Darmex in January of this year," said Dr. Anno Borkowsky, CEO of Rhein Chemie. Further acquisitions are also aimed at achieving profitable growth. In April this year, the company took over two product lines from Flexsys, USA, and in July, it acquired the tyre release agent business of Wacker Chemie AG , Germany. "Rhein Chemie is constantly on the look-out for further opportunities to accelerate its growth, added Borkowsky. Acquisition of the Argentinian release agent and bladder specialist Darmex in January 2011 was an important step strategically, as it strengthens Rhein Chemie's position as a supplier to the tyre industry, one of the world's key growth markets. Having access to bladder technology rounds out Rhein Chemie's solutions for the tyre industry. "Rhein Chemie is the first supplier in the world to offer release agents and high-performance bladders from a single source. This is a big advantage for tyre manufacturers because it ensures optimal coordination, said Frank Lueckgen, Executive Vice President of Rhein Chemie's Rubber Division. Experts estimate the volume of the global bladder production to be in the range of EUR 300 million. An increasing number of tyre manufacturers are outsourcing bladder production. Around 40 % of bladders already are produced by independent bladder manufacturers, and the trend towards outsourcing continues unabated. The reason is that it leads to improved productivity for tyre manufacturers, and the quality of bladders made by specialists is higher. Because curing bladders are part of Rhein Chemie's core business, the focus is on manufacturing and on the continued development of bladder technology. The improved thermal conductivity of the bladder compound, plus a number of other factors, increases the quality of a tyre, resulting in greater safety and lower rolling resistance. That means lower fuel consumption. In acquiring the release agent business of Wacker in July 2011, Rhein Chemie says it has taken another step to strengthen its position as one of the world's leading tyre release agent manufacturers. The market for these products will grow worldwide by roughly 5 % per year in the medium term. The acquisition also opens up new business opportunities for the company, especially in the USA. The majority of the acquired products are aqueous, solvent-free dispersions based on silicone. They will be marketed under the name Rhenodiv. The company operates production facilities, sales offices, and technical service in all the key regions. "Rhein Chemie already offers release agents from local production sites in Europe, the USA, Argentina, Uruguay, India, China and Japan," said Lueckgen and Borkowsky continued "We already produce Rhenoshape bladders in Argentina and Uruguay, and will start producing them in Brazil in late 2012. I believe we have secured a good starting position for further growth in coming years."