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17. Mai 2010 | Reden

Grundsteinlegung für das neue Butylkautschuk-Werk in Singapur

Aus den Ausführungen von Dr. Axel C. Heitmann, Vorstandsvorsitzender der LANXESS AG (nur in Englisch verfügbar)

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and thank you so much for joining us on this very special occasion for LANXESS and for Singapore.

I would especially like to thank Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Joerg Ranau, Ambassador to Singapore, Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Seung Hwa Suh, Vice-Chairman and CEO, Hankook Tire, Dr. Beh Swan Gin, Managing Director, Singapore Economic Development Board, Mr. Heah Soon Poh, Director, Biomedical & Chemicals Cluster, JTC Corporation for being with us today.

All of us at LANXESS owe each of you a real debt of gratitude, for without your friendship, hard work and cooperation this day could not have happened.

When our shovels touch the ground this morning, it is full speed ahead for the most modern rubber plant in the world and the largest synthetic rubber facility in Asia.

Here we will produce butyl and halobutyl synthetic rubber – the extraordinary product that makes possible advanced, high-performance, energy-saving radial tires.

I cannot tell you how gratifying this moment is for me personally, and for all of us at LANXESS.

One year ago I came here to present two compelling reasons why we had decided to put construction of this plant on hold until 2014.

Well here I am today – my shovel at the ready – well ahead of schedule.

In fact we start construction now and this state-of-the-art plant will begin rubber production in 2013.

One of the compelling reasons I gave for last year’s postponement was quite obvious.  We were in the midst of a global financial crisis, automakers and tire-makers were experiencing a serious downturn and the demand for high performance rubber had plummeted.

Today we have a far more positive outlook.

Because of a series of strong and focused austerity measures at LANXESS we have not only weathered the crisis, we have emerged stronger than ever.

And because of the extraordinary resiliency of Singapore and the Asian market, the rubber industry is also experiencing a rebound.

The other compelling reason why we postponed the project was so we could take advantage of a technological breakthrough in producing butyl rubber that we have been working on at LANXESS.  It is a breakthrough that will enable this plant to set new standards for environmental protection.  The facility will utilize vastly improved process technology that is much more resource-sparing, energy efficient and environmentally friendly.  It will represent the current “best in class” in terms of efficiency.  

I am pleased to announce today that more than 10 percent of our investment in this facility will go toward the installation of this pioneering technology to protect the environment.

Because of this new technology, we will be able to manufacture butyl rubber here using significantly less steam than other rubber facilities.  This will dramatically lower the plant’s overall energy consumption.  Ultramodern flue gas purification systems will break down chemical compounds and release lower volumes of greenhouse gases.  And thanks to a modern wastewater treatment plant and closed circuits, the facility will produce half as much liquid discharge as conventional plants.

So you see, ladies and gentlemen, there is much good news.

And I now have very compelling reasons to move up our schedule and say, “Full speed ahead” on Jurong Island.

The groundbreaking for this ultra-modern butyl rubber facility is another example of our wholehearted, long-term commitment to Singapore and to the future of LANXESS in the Asia-Pacific region.

LANXESS now generates nearly a quarter of its sales in the growth markets of Asia.  Our investment here in Singapore is a major milestone along this path.  

So you can see that Singapore is of major strategic importance to LANXESS.  It will function as a LANXESS hub for operations in the Asia Pacific region, with a total of 13 Business Units, managing their Southeast Asian business from here.

We recently moved our global Butyl Rubber headquarters here.  This means that Singapore has now become one of the three most important locations in the LANXESS global enterprise.

Today’s groundbreaking is further evidence that we truly mean business here in Singapore.

In fact, the plant represents the single largest investment that we have made in the five and half year history of our company.

The up to 400 million Euros that we will spend here is a strategic investment with major implications.

  • It will permanently change the rubber landscape in Asia.
  • It will be the world’s first entirely new Butyl rubber plant since the year 2000.
  • It will be the most environmentally friendly, efficient, technology-driven butyl production facility in the world.
  • It will bring the great benefits of Halobutyl rubber to the people of Asia – making their automotive transportation safer, more comfortable and more fuel-efficient.

And it will bring important long-term benefits to Singapore for many decades to come.

This plant will continually contribute to the economy.  

It will always require highly skilled labor.

It will create jobs.

And of course, it will demand a constant flow of feedstock.  

So you see, this is the start of something very big for LANXESS and for Singapore.

The construction of our plant will involve roughly 150 engineers and 1,500 construction workers.  The development of such an advanced chemical plant requires a broad cross section of experts from the fields of science, engineering and construction.

Many more jobs will be created in order to build the support network through which our plant will interface.  This involves energy suppliers, wastewater removal and other complex chemical infrastructure needs.

When completed, the final capacity will reach 100,000 tons per year and the plant will employ over 200 highly skilled workers.

So by any measure, this new facility will represent another important milestone in the extraordinary industrial progress of Singapore.

And as you can well image, it represents a major milestone in LANXESS’ long and proud history in the rubber industry.

Synthetic rubber was invented in the laboratories of our predecessor company 101 years ago.

Today LANXESS is not only the world’s major supplier of synthetic rubber – we are the global leader in the advanced, high-technology rubber that is now in great demand for safer, quieter, longer-lasting, energy-saving tires.

That is the principal kind of rubber we will be producing here on Jurong Island.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to discuss why Singapore was the ideal choice for this new plant …

… to tell you why the facility is important for the rubber industry and for Southeast Asia …

… and then to talk about some of the products we will produce here and why I feel confident in guaranteeing to you that LANXESS will be a very good neighbor.

First – why Singapore?

There are five very good reasons why Singapore was the final choice for this site.

One is stability.  Singapore has a highly developed, successful free market economy.  It has stable prices, a business-friendly government and a per capita GDP equal to the four largest Western European countries.  Those are qualities any CEO looks for when contemplating a major investment.

Another is infrastructure.  Jurong Island’s chemical park offers the ideal infrastructure for a plant such as ours.  It is why DuPont, Chevron Oronite, Shell and Sumitomo Chemical all have plants here.  This cluster environment guarantees the feedstock, the clean energy and the unique facilities we need.  And here is the Port of Singapore: Good shipping, good logistics, good transport services and good IT connectivity means we can conduct business in Singapore at very high efficiency levels.

Reason three – the workforce.  The superior workforce available to us in Singapore is a major reason why we chose to build our plant here.

Four – technology.  LANXESS is an innovative, technology-oriented company.  New technology can only thrive in an environment that fosters innovation and strongly supports the superior education and training of young people.  And we certainly have that here in Singapore, which is home to the University of Singapore, one of the leading scientific institutes in Asia.

And five – we are already here.  We have long had a legal presence here in Singapore, and now we have made this dynamic city, this unique Republic, the headquarters for all of our operations in Southeast Asia.

So there you have five good reasons why we chose Singapore for our new plant.  

Real stability.  

Ideal infrastructure.  

Excellent workforce.  

The right environment for technology and innovation.  

And – this is our headquarters.

Choosing Singapore was an easy decision – and the right decision.

Now I would like to say a few words about why this plant is so important.

In the early days of the automotive industry, tires were made from natural rubber, a precious and extremely expensive commodity found in the rain forests along the equator.

Our invention of synthetic rubber began the process that brought the price down and made mobility possible for everyone, not just the very rich.

And it formed the basis for the modern, high-performance tire design, which has made automobiles safer at high speeds, in bad weather, and under tough conditions.

Now, with this plant, we can support the next important phase in the history of rubber – high-performance rubber that makes tires safer and longer lasting, providing greater driving comfort and greater fuel economy.

LANXESS is, in fact, leading the industry in what is known as “green tire technology.”

Tires contribute to roughly 20 percent of a vehicle’s total energy consumption.  Our product is helping save gasoline and reduce emissions.  Tires made with LANXESS high performance rubber help to reduce energy loss as the tires roll, providing approximately four percent improvement in highway fuel economy.  High performance tires can save some 4,000 kilometers worth of gas over the lifetime of the tire.

Nowhere is the trend towards greater mobility moving faster than in the Asia-Pacific region.  As more cars hit the roads, more tires will be needed.  From the completion of our plant onwards we expect there to be a strong and increasing demand for the high-performance radial tires that are made of the halobutyl rubber we produce here.

But butyl is not just for tires.  Other butyl applications include pharmaceutical closures, adhesives, automotive seals and bladders for sport balls.

Finally, I want to say a word about the kind of neighbor that we will be.

We take special pride in our innovative premium products that serve industry in many ways and that make life better for all of us in many ways.

We also take special pride in our pioneering technology that has made our plants industry models for worker safety and environmental protection.

You will find that wherever we do business, we have taken a leadership position regarding safety and the environment.  And I can assure you that it will always be our focus here in Singapore.

As I mentioned earlier, this facility will feature breakthrough technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut wastewater in half and use less energy than conventional plants.

That is how seriously we take our responsibility for the environment and to Singapore.

Ladies and gentlemen – when these shovels touch the ground today it not only means full speed ahead for the most modern rubber plant in the world and the largest synthetic rubber facility in Asia … it means full speed ahead for a bright new future for LANXESS in Singapore.

Thank you so much for helping to make this day possible.