Synthos announces sustainable growth strategy after completing acquisition of German facility including R&D centre
Synthos Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of synthetic rubber, completed the acquisition of a plant in Schkopau, Germany, from Trinseo on 1 December. The total value of the transaction is USD 460 million. Concurrent with the closing of the acquisition, Synthos has adopted a sustainable development strategy, including a goal to move completely away from coal as an energy source by 2028 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2030.
In the global synthetic rubber market, Synthos’ last major acquisition was the purchase of a rubber plant in Kralupy, Czech Republic. In recent years, Synthos has also acquired expanded polystyrene (EPS, used to produce polystyrene foam) plants in France and the Netherlands from the INEOS Group.
The acquisition of the Schkopau plant is the largest transaction in the history of our company. Synthos will strengthen its position in the global synthetic rubber market by becoming the second largest manufacturer in this segment. But more importantly, with this transaction we are acquiring the most advanced product portfolio in the world that addresses a critical ecological need, namely the reduction of CO2 emissions. The portfolio can be fully used in tyres for electric vehicles, said Michał Sołowow, owner of Synthos Group.
After the acquisition, Synthos’ production capacity in synthetic rubber (ESBR+PBR+SSBR) will increase to over 800,000 tonnes per year.
The expected synergy effects will result in the Schkopau plant benefiting both operationally and financially. Synthos expects the plant to generate EBITDA of at least EUR 80–100 million per year after the acquisition. Synthos expects synergies of more than EUR 20 million, resulting from increased sales volumes through more efficient use of production capacities, the introduction of new types of rubber grades to the product portfolio, and finally cost synergies.
The transaction fits perfectly into the strategy of Synthos Group, which assumes continuous development of its product offering through investment in research and development. The Schkopau facility has excellent research and development facilities, which will enhance the group’s capabilities in this area. Over the last ten years, Synthos has spent an average of EUR 7 million per year on rubber research and development.
The Schkopau plant will enable Synthos to utilise the entire range of technologically advanced solution-styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR), including functionalised styrene-butadiene rubbers used primarily in technologically advanced tyres with low rolling resistance (which means lower fuel consumption and emissions), including tyres for electric cars, said Zbigniew Warmuz, CEO of Synthos S.A.
The acquisition of the German plant is the largest part of Synthos Group’s planned investment of USD 1.2 billion by 2025, with the second largest investment being the ongoing construction of a CCGT unit in Oświęcim, Poland for nearly USD 120.5 million.
The Synthos Group is constantly growing not only through acquisitions, but also through organic growth. It invests in modern installations that allows it to increase production efficiency and reduce its impact on the environment – both the production process itself and the solutions it offers. Synthos will soon start investing in a butadiene extraction installation in Płock with an annual production capacity of 120,000 tonnes. Its commissioning is scheduled for 2024.
Simultaneously with the completion of the acquisition of the Schkopau plant, Synthos has adopted a sustainable development strategy, which envisages: a complete shift away from coal and a 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2028, achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050, and producing 100% sustainable products by 2030. The company also plans to increase the share of renewable raw materials in its raw material base and reduce energy and utility consumption by 2030. To achieve these goals, Synthos is focusing on investing in low- and zero-carbon energy sources and developing innovative products to reduce its carbon footprint in construction, transportation and agriculture.
About Synthos Group
Since Synthos became privately owned in the mid-2000s, it has evolved into a modern international chemical company. Today, Synthos is a leading European and global manufacturer of synthetic rubbers, styrenics, dispersions and adhesives as well as crop protection products. Synthos Group is the world’s second largest producer of synthetic rubber and the largest European (and third largest global) producer of expanded polystyrene (EPS).
Synthos has six production sites in Poland, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Germany and employs over 3,660 people.
Three research and development centres (in Poland, the Netherlands and Germany) work on the development of innovative products that enable greater energy efficiency and a reduction in emissions and waste:
- Synthos’ eco-dispersions can reduce VOC emissions from paints and coatings by 250 tonnes/year.
- Insulation materials based on Synthos’ innovative EPS products (InVento, InSphere and XPS) can reduce CO2 emissions by at least 2.3 million tonnes/year because of improved energy efficiency in buildings. Synthos’ synthetic rubber used in low rolling resistance tyres enables CO2 emissions from transportation to be reduced by 240,000 tonnes/year.
- In 2025 Synthos will start the production of ‘green’ butadiene, i.e., biobutadiene (a raw material used in the production of synthetic rubber).
- Approximately 80% of Synthos rubber product sales are supplied to major players in the tyre market, such as Michelin, Continental, Bridgestone, Goodyear and Pirelli.
Synthos applies the highest standards in the production process and management (confirmed by ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 certificates), which are another guarantee of further development of all its production plants.
For more information about Synthos Group, please visit www.synthosgroup.com
About Michał Sołowow Capital Group
Synthos belongs to the largest private industrial group in the CEE region, owned and managed by Michał Sołowow: the largest Polish industrialist and private investor abroad (in the industrial sector, only the state-owned corporations KGHM Polska Miedź and PKN Orlen invest more).
Apart from Synthos Group, the most important companies in the industrial group are Barlinek – a 100% ecological company and the world’s largest manufacturer of wooden flooring, and Cersanit – the third largest European manufacturer of ceramic tiles and bathroom equipment.
Worldwide, the group consists of 19 large factories in 8 countries, employing 18,000 people. The group’s products are sold in more than 90 countries on 6 continents.
About the Schkopau plant
The plant has a wide range of technologies and assortment of synthetic rubber.
65% of the plant’s revenue comes from sales of SSBR rubber, which is mainly used in high-tech low rolling resistance tyres (e.g., for electric vehicles). A car with low rolling resistance tyres can save up to 0.25 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres travelled (on average, drivers travel around 20,000 kilometres per year, which equates to savings of 50 litres). SSBR is also used in technical rubber products (e.g., conveyor belts, hoses, gaskets). The tyre market accounts for around 88% of SSBR sales.
ESBR rubbers account for 35% of the German plant’s revenues. They are widely used in the tyre and technical rubber products segments. ESBR provides improved wet grip of the tyre tread and higher strength of the inner layer of tyres.