Success through diversity – For over 100 years, Rhein Chemie has been a reliable partner to its customers
Wednesday, 22. March 2006 The present success of Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH, Mannheim, Germany is based on roots deep in the rubber industry. Over the course of the last century, due to its clever expansion policy and its proximity to customers, the company has developed from one of the first rubber recyclers to one of the leading suppliers in the world for high-performance additives and specific services. It has generated excellent customer loyalty with an experienced R&D Department and production plants close to the markets all over the world.
Mannheim – The present success of Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH, Mannheim, Germany is based on roots deep in the rubber industry. Over the course of the last century, due to its clever expansion policy and its proximity to customers, the company has developed from one of the first rubber recyclers to one of the leading suppliers in the world for high-performance additives and specific services. It has generated excellent customer loyalty with an experienced R&D Department and production plants close to the markets all over the world.
The Rhein Chemie Group is a supplier of additives and service products for the rubber and lubricant, polyurethane and plastics industries. The expanding, globally active company headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, specializes above all in customized solutions, products and services, tailor-made to meet customer requirements. And with success: Customer loyalty at Rhein Chemie is considered above average in the industry. The Rhein Chemie Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of LANXESS Deutschland GmbH, Leverkusen. The company is run as an independent entity under the umbrella of LANXESS and employs over 970 people worldwide, 550 of which are in Mannheim.
Early experience with rubber
Rhein Chemie was established back in 1889. At the start of the company’s history, production of chlorinated solvents and detergents was its business. However, with the production of an extender for natural rubber – called factice – the company also succeeded in getting an early start in the rubber industry. Even in the 1920s, the importance of recycling was acknowledged and production of reclaimed rubber started. This was a winning move: With advancing industrialization – and above all motorization – the tire industry in the first half of the last century experienced a tremendous upturn. And Rhein Chemie did too: Factice and RC reclaimed rubber were an important part of the company until the mid 1960s.
The management of the Mannheim company knew how to make the most out of a good opportunity: In the years prior to 1940, the company quickly developed from a small company to a medium-sized enterprise with 100 employees. In the 1950s, the product range was extended with additives for the lubricants industry – to this very day, Rhein Chemie supplies the mineral oil industry with many important additives for the production of lubricating oils and grease.
Portfolio extended with intelligence and prudence
In 1971, Rhein Chemie became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany. In addition to the existing areas of business – now rubber and mineral oil – the close collaboration with the parent company also led, two years later, to an involvement in the rapidly growing and promising area of polyurethane chemistry – in the following decade, the scope of the product range tripled. The increasing demand for more and more diverse Rhein Chemie products was met by a new multi-purpose plant among other things: Since 1976, this has provided the company with the necessary capacities to satisfy the increasing worldwide market demand for high-quality mineral oil additives and intermediate products for the rubber and plastics industry.
The Sales and Distribution Division, which has expanded with the work, now has numerous agencies located in important countries: “We want to be represented in all markets of international importance,” says Dr. Anno Borkowsky, who has been CEO at Rhein Chemie since 2002. This task the company has set itself has not only been pursued by increasing its distribution network, but also, since the 1980s, by the construction and extension of production sites in many areas of the world. In 1987, Rhein Chemie acquired the US company Wyrough & Loser, Trenton, New Jersey, USA. Only two years later, a production site for the manufacture of polymer-bound rubber chemicals was opened in Toyohashi, Japan.
The important Asian Region was further strengthened in 1995 through the foundation of the joint venture Rhein Chemie (Qingdao) Ltd. in the north-eastern Chinese port of Qingdao. Rhein Chemie has a 90 percent share in this, while 10 percent is held by Qingdao Red Star Chemical Group Co., Ltd, Qingdao, China.
In 1999, the early route taken towards a global presence in the service of customers was given new impetus with two milestones: First, the acquisition of the “assets” of Elastochem, Chardon, Ohio, USA, allowed Rhein Chemie to significantly improve its market position in the manufacture and mixing of rubber chemicals in the USA. Second, Rhein Chemie (Qingdao) Ltd., Qingdao, China started production in summer 1999. In Qingdao, Rhein Chemie produces polymer-bound chemicals (Rhenogran®), vulcanization and filler activators, processing promoters and release agents for the rubber industry.
In 2001, Rhein Chemie (Qingdao) Ltd., China received DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 certification. This means that all Rhein Chemie production plants worldwide comply with the same high quality standards.
In March 2006, Rhein Chemie is opening a new production plant for polymer-bound chemicals (Rhenogran®) in its joint venture in Qingdao, China. In doing so, the company will double its annual production capacity for Rhenogran® in China to 4,800 t. In this way, Rhein Chemie is responding to the sharp increase in demand for polymer-bound chemicals in China and other countries in Asia.
The concept seems to be working: Worldwide, more than 4,000 customers in the rubber, lubricants, polyurethane and plastics industries in over 120 countries now rely on know-how, products and services from Rhein Chemie: By focusing on being close to customers, the Rhein Chemie Group achieved worldwide sales in 2004 of 313 million euros. “In the market segments where we are active, we would like our customers to see us as leaders in product and service innovation,” is how Rhein Chemie CEO Dr. Anno Borkowsky sums up the way Rhein Chemie sees itself.
Mannheim, 22. March 2006
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by the management of Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of our sole stockholder LANXESS Deutschland GmbH and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in LANXESS AG’s reports to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. LANXESS AG and Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH assume no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.