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Connell Brothers Partners with Lehigh Technologies in Japan and Korea

Collaboration provides high-performance, environmentally friendly material to the tire and rubber industries

SAN FRANCISCO and ATLANTA, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  Connell Brothers (CBC), the largest distributor of specialty chemicals and ingredients in Asia-Pacific, announced today that it has partnered with Lehigh Technologies, a leading specialty materials company, to market Lehigh's PolyDyne micronized rubber powders (MRP) to the tire and rubber industries in Japan and Korea. After initial success in Japan, the two companies will focus on broadening industry outreach, supply chain efficiency and technical support in Japan, as well as introducing MRP to Korea and Southeast Asia.

Following two years of market development, MRP—produced from end-of-life tires and post-industrial rubber—has helped meet growing demand for affordable, high performance and sustainable raw materials in Japan, one of the world's leading automotive markets.

"The Japanese tire and rubber industries have always shown clear demand for specialty materials that offer cost and environmental benefits," said Azita Owlia, vice president for north Asia at CBC. "These materials also need to meet stringent performance criteria, given Japan's best-in-class quality and safety standards for tire manufacturing. Lehigh's PolyDyne MRP delivers all of these benefits, and we expect that the partnership will expand the MRP customer base in Japan. Encouraged by our success in Japan, we also expect to develop a market for PolyDynein Korea, another leading automotive manufacturing hub in Asia."

In recent years, many tire and rubber companies have implemented robust sustainability and waste reduction programs to address the end-of-life tires produced by the automotive industry each year. By transforming these end-of-life tires into new materials, MRP can help the automotive sector meet environmental goals without paying a premium for sustainability. Additionally, incorporating MRP into new tires provides crucial environmental benefits via energy savings and reducing virgin rubber consumption.

"With one of the largest automotive sectors in the world, Asia is an important market for MRP," said Alan Barton, CEO of Lehigh Technologies. "Our MRP has already been used to make more than 250 million tires globally, and our customer base includes six of the top 10 tire companies in the world. Thanks to Connell Brothers' commercial strengths and excellent technical sales team, we have successfully introduced MRP to the Japanese market. We are now working to boost our capabilities in the region in order to leverage this traction and accelerate MRP adoption, as well as to introduce MRP to other markets in the Asia-Pacific region."

Connell Brothers currently provides marketing, sales, supply chain and technical support for Lehigh's PolyDyne™ product in Japan. The company is deploying its technical knowledge and understanding of the products, applications, local regulations and culture of Japan to bridge the requirements of local downstream tire manufacturers and the products available from leading global suppliers.

About Connell Brothers
Founded in 1895, Connell Brothers is a division of Wilbur-Ellis Company and is the largest marketer and distributor of specialty chemicals and ingredients in Asia-Pacific with a keen focus on technical service, customer support, and environmental, health, and safety.  Connell Brothers provides complete supply chain management from transportation, documentation, warehousing, and sales and distribution in 17 countries and in 37 offices located throughout Asia-Pacific.

For more information, please visit www.wilburellis.com

About Lehigh Technologies
Lehigh Technologies is a leading specialty materials company that is transforming end-of-life tire and post-industrial rubber into highly engineered, sustainable powders called Micronized Rubber Powder (MRP) that are being used in a wide range of consumer and industrial applications. Lehigh's energy efficient cryogenic turbo mill technology breaks down these raw materials to micron scale powders that are sold to manufacturers of advanced products, including high-performance tires, industrial rubber, consumer and industrial plastics goods, asphalt and coatings and construction materials. The Tucker, Georgia-based company is privately held and backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, NGP Energy Technology Partners and Leaf Clean Energy. For more information, please visit www.lehightechnologies.com.

SOURCE Lehigh Technologies

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