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ZEON CHEMICALS to acquire DSM Copolymer

December 9, 1998 - ZEON CHEMICALS and DSM Copolymer have agreed in principle that ZEON will acquire DSM Copolymer's Nysyn®NBR and Nysynblak®NBR business. The transaction, which is expected to be closed at the end of January 1999, includes business assets such as customer lists, product technology, contractual arrangements and trademark licensing.

DSM Copolymer manufactures NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) in a multi-purpose plant at its Baton Rouge (LA, USA) production site. Its current NBR capacity is 15,000 tpa. The multi-purpose plant also produces SBR (capacity 160,000 tpa). The employees involved in NBR production at this plant will continue to be employed by DSM Copolymer. Under the terms of the intended contract, Zeon will have the exclusive right to purchase NBR products from DSM Copolymer. The manufacture of these products will continue to take place in the DSM Copolymer facility.

ZEON will be responsible for worldwide marketing and selling these products as well as for customer service and technical service. "The addition of the DSM Copolymer NBR product lines to the ZEON family will substantially strengthen our market presence and will greatly complement our existing business", says William Niederst, President & CEO of ZEON CHEMICALS. "This acquisition allows us to better serve our customers and to enhance our position in a competitive market."

Larry Powell, President & CEO of DSM Copolymer, says: "The transaction will allow DSM Copolymer to focus on its manufacturing core competency in their highly efficient, multi-purpose plant, while leveraging Zeon's strength in sales and service. Customers will benefit from a consolidated supplier base and will continue to be provided with first class customer service and technical service."

ZEON CHEMICALS Incorporated is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Zeon Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, a world leader in specialty elastomers, polymers and specialty chemicals. Nippon Zeon Group is one of the top producers of polymers in the world with plants in Asia, North America and Europe and Research and Development laboratories in Kawasaki (Japan), Louisville (KY, USA) and Barry (UK).

ZEON CHEMICALS, headquartered in Louisville, is the leading producer of specialty elastomers in the USA. It produces Nipol® NBR, HyTemp Polyacrylate, Hydrin® ECO and Zetpol® HNBR used in the manufacture of hoses, seals, gaskets, belts and other parts for automotive, industrial, oil field and printing markets. Customers are served from plants in Louisville, Hattiesburg (MS, USA)and Bayport (TX, USA).

Nippon Zeon Co., Ltd., with combined sales of over US$ 1.4 billion, utilizes its expertise and basic position in C4 and C5 chemistry to offer a wide range of products. The company employs approximately 3,500 people worldwide.

DSM Copolymer
DSM Copolymer, a leading producer of EPDM, SBR and NBR with production facilities in Baton Rouge (LA, USA) and Addis (LA), forms part of DSM Elastomers. The latter employs approximately 1,350 people worldwide and has annual sales of more than NLG 1 billion. It manufactures and sells synthetic rubber (EPDM, NBR and SBR), thermoplastic rubbers and Dyneema high-performance polyethylene fibres. DSM Elastomers is the world leader in Keltan EPDM with a market share of over 20% worldwide. In Sarlink thermoplastic rubbers the business group holds the No. 2 position. SBR and NBR are mainly sold in the North American market. In Dyneema high-performance polyethylene fibres DSM Elastomers is the world leader.

DSM Elastomers is a business group of them Dutch based DSM group which has total sales of almost NLG 15 billion and more than 23,000 employees.