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Sumitomo secures natural rubber supply

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Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. will establish two joint venture companies with Thai Eastern Group Co. LTD. in Thailand. One will run a natural rubber plantation, the other a natural rubber processing plant.

The company says the joint ventures serve two main purposes:

1. to stabilize the quality and procurement of natural rubber for promotion of  technology development of eco-tires.

2. to alleviate possible risk due to fluctuation in the price of natural rubber.

"Through establishment of these joint venture companies, Sumitomo Rubber will speed up its R&D activities to enhance the performance of fossil resource-free tires and high fuel-efficient tires to protect world environment," says the company.

The natural rubber plantation joint venture, Sumirubber Thai Eastern Plantation, will begin operations in 2014. Sumitomo Rubber will own 49% of the $13.5 million joint venture, which will employ approximately 10 people.

The natural rubber processing plant, Sumirubber Thai Eastern Corp., will start this year 2011. Sumitomo owns 70% of the $6.7 million joint venture, which will employ approximately 140 people.

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