Kuraray Co., Ltd. has announced its decision to increase the prices of hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomers SEPTON and HYBRAR as well as of the block elastomer "TU polymer," the technology for which combines styrene elastomer block with polyurethane elastomer. These increases are in accordance with the worldwide shortage in supply and soaring costs of the primary components of Kuraray's thermoplastic elastomers, butadiene and isoprene. Details are outlined as below.

Both of these primary components are produced together with the principal materials of ethylene and propylene. From around the summer of 2008, ethylene centers throughout Japan initiated production cutbacks to adapt to slowing demand for petrochemical products. Production is forecast to be further slashed after October, with significant drops in the supply of butadiene and isoprene also predicted. Furthermore, in tandem with reduced ethylene production at overseas locations, chiefly in the United States, there is also the impact of an accelerating shift away from naphtha, the basic ingredient of ethylene, to natural gas. The result of this is triggering supply problems and rising prices of butadiene and isoprene.

Because of the rising prices for these chief materials, in recent years Kuraray has implemented several price revisions for elastomer-related products. However, the current shortage in supply and rising price of butadiene and isoprene is a manifestation of the structural changes in an array of naphtha-derived petrochemical products. This has far outpaced Kuraray's ability to independently reduce costs.

Given these conditions, and in order to maintain a stable supply, Kuraray has decided to implement price revisions, as detailed below.

1. Scope of revision:

  • Hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomers SEPTON and HYBRAR
  • Block elastomer "TU polymer"

2. Price increase and effective date:

Area Japan
Price increase ¥42/kg
Effective date Shipments from October 13, 2008