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Denka acquires DuPont rubber business in LaPlace; keeps 235 manufacturing jobs

LAPLACE — LaPlace is home to a new corporate headquarters as Denka Performance Elastomer announced Monday its acquisition of the Neoprene synthetic rubber business of DuPont Performance Polymers.

“I want to congratulate Denka and Mitsui on their agreement to purchase the Neoprene section of DuPont and to establish Denka Performance Elastomer LLC,” St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom said. “When coupled with the quality workforce of DuPont’s 235 employees and the establishment of Denka’s headquarters location in LaPlace, I believe this acquisition will truly thrive as part of Denka’s portfolio.

“I thank DuPont for their many years of involvement in our community. This is another win for St. John, as well as another opportunity for our residents to work in the community in which they live.”

The corporate headquarters announcement accompanies Denka’s just completed acquisition of DuPont’s polychloroprene synthetic rubber business, known by the trade name Neoprene.

Material produced at the LaPlace site is used in consumer products including wet suits, orthopedic braces, adhesives, electrical insulation and coatings. Denka Performance Elastomer is a joint venture of majority owner Denka Company Limited (with 70 percent of the equity) and Mitsui & Co. Ltd., both Japanese companies.

“Chloroprene rubber has been a core business for Denka Japan for many years, and I am sure this new addition in LaPlace will largely contribute to our further growth, enabling us to serve the market and the customers better,” Denka Performance Elastomer LLC President and CEO Koki Tabuchi said. “I am also very glad that it is located here, with a lot of support from the state, the parish and the people in town.”

Louisiana Economic Development began discussing the project with Denka Performance Elastomer in February.

The project will create 16 corporate jobs with an average annual salary estimated by LED at $80,000, plus benefits.

LED officials also estimates the project will result in another 81 new indirect jobs in the Southeast region of Louisiana.

Denka Performance Elastomer will retain 235 existing manufacturing jobs associated with the Pontchartrain Works production site in LaPlace, where DuPont will continue to operate its separately owned DuPont Kevlar business.

Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin said port officials are excited to know the existing 235 manufacturing jobs will be retained by the new joint venture.

“The Port of South Louisiana is ready to assist Denka in any way that we can,” he said.