Bridgestone to Build Synthetic Rubber Plant in China

Bridgestone Corporation announced today that it will build a plant in the city of Huizhou in China's Guangdong Province to produce synthetic rubber. The aim of the move is to meet growing global demand for synthetic rubber used in tires. Plans are to construct the new plant in the Huizhou Dayawan Economic and Technological Development Zone in Guangdong Province.

On December 22, 2005, Bridgestone established Bridgestone (Huizhou) Synthetic Rubber Co., Ltd. to operate the plant. That followed approval for the project from Huizhou City officials. Bridgestone has earmarked approximately $100 million for investment in the new plant.

Bridgestone plans for the new plant to begin operation in the first half of 2008 and for the annual production of styrene-butadiene rubber produced there to reach around 50,000 tons. The synthetic rubber plant will supply its output mainly to Bridgestone Group's tire plants in China as well as other areas in Asia.

Bridgestone Group already produces synthetic rubber at two plants in the United States. The decision was made to build and operate a plant for the production of enhanced performance rubber especially for China and Asia in line with an expected surge in demand in those areas. Bridgestone concluded a licensing agreement with JSR Corporation regarding the technology used to produce the enhanced performance synthetic rubber.

Expanding in-house production capacity in raw materials for tires and for diversified products is a strategic priority in the Bridgestone Group. In addition to synthetic rubber plants, Bridgestone Group operates steel cord and carbon black plants and natural rubber estates and natural rubber processing plants in various locations around the world.

Capabilities in producing raw materials strengthen the Bridgestone Group's foundation for technological development. Those capabilities also help differentiation of products and ensure stable supplies of consistently high-quality raw materials for Bridgestone Group plants worldwide. Bridgestone therefore regards independent production capabilities in raw materials as a core strategic strength for the Bridgestone Group.

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