DuPont to sell Neoprene elastomer business to Denka-Mitsui JV

16:14 PM | December 10, 2014 | Robert Westervelt

DuPont has reached agreement to sell its Neoprene polychloroprene business to Denka Performance Elastomer, a new joint venture company owned 70% by Denki Kagaku Kogyo (Denka; Tokyo) and 30% by Mitsui & Co. The sale is expected to close in first-half 2015. Financial terms are not being disclosed. DuPont makers polychloroprene at its La Place, LA, site. Approximately 235 employees in United States will transfer to the jv as part of the transaction. DuPont says that Neoprene sales comprised less than 5.0% of sales in its performance polymers segment in 2013.

Neoprene, the first commercially successful elastomer, was invented by DuPont in 1931. It is used in chemical- and weather-resistant products, such as wet suits and orthopedic braces. It also is used as a base resin in adhesives, electrical insulation, and coatings.

“Chloroprene rubber is our core business, and the acquisition from DuPont will contribute to our further sustainable growth,” says Shinsuke Yoshitaka, Denka president and CEO. "Denka can establish a flexible supply structure with high-quality products. Furthermore, we expect to enjoy synergies with our R&D and technical services.” Denka currently has production at its Omi, Japan, site.

DuPont and Denka are the two largest producers of polychloroprene, each with estimated capacity of 100,000 m.t./year, according to IHS Chemical.