A GERMAN chemical firm officially opened a €400 million (S$654.8 million) plant here yesterday - the biggest investment in its history and its first venture in Singapore.
Lanxess is using the facility on Jurong Island to make butyl rubber, which is used in tyres, pharmaceuticals and chewing gum.
The plant, which is expected to create 160 highly-skilled jobs, began operations in the first quarter of the year and production will be ramped up gradually to an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes.
Lanxess has also made Singapore its global headquarters for its butyl rubber business.
Global demand for butyl rubber is expected to grow at 5 per cent each year until 2017, with demand in the Asia-Pacific region tipped to expand at 6 per cent annually, said Dr Axel Heitmann, who chairs the firm's board of management.
"Driving most of that growth is the mobility megatrend, which is gathering momentum in Asia. Here, a rapidly growing middle class is achieving the dream of personal transportation," he said.
More than 50 per cent of its butyl rubber sales are generated in the Asia Pacific region, said Dr Ron Commander, head of the butyl rubber unit.