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European TPE supplier plans new facility in China

Thermoplastic elastomer supplier Elasto already has two production facilities in Europe, but its third will be located further afield as the company has announced plans to begin compounding and marketing its plastics in China. The decision to build there comes just seven months after the TPE compounder signed a distribution agreement with another company for China.

Elasto is the former thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) business of the Vita Group, which it sold to Hexpol in April 2010. Hexpol is a compounder of thermoplastics and TPEs as well as a processor of wheels made from polyurethane, other plastics and rubber. The company is headquartered in Sweden but has a global footprint.

Elasto's TPEs, offered in hardness ranging from zero shore A to 65 shore D, are used in a wide range of applications including mobile phones, caps and closures, toys, automotive interior and exteriors, construction profiles and soft-touch grips. The compounder has two compounding operations in Europe, in Sweden and in England, and operates globally through distributors and agents. As we reported here, in Jan. 2011 Elasto announced the signing of a distribution agreement with Telko Shanghai to have the latter company develop sales of its products in China. Telko, part of Finland's Aspo Group conglomerate, was responsible for the market development and sales of Elasto's range of Dryflex thermoplastic elastomers based on SBS, SEBS, TPV and TPO. In answer to a question from PlasticsToday, Jill Bradford, Elasto's marketing manager, confirmed that her company still is working with Telko Shanghai and will not cancel the distribution agreement.

The new China compounding operation is expected to come on-stream in the second half of 2012. It will initially focus on producing exactly those materials mentioned in the distribution agreement with Telko Shanghai. The new compounding facility will operate from Hexpol's existing site near Guangzhou.

In a company release, Elasto managing director Per Hellberg commented, "Elasto have supplied customers in Asia for a number of years, initially to EU transplants and increasingly to locally owned molders. As sales to Asia continue to grow, it is important to us that our existing and new customers benefit from the same high quality production, technical expertise and local support as our European customer base."

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