kuraray


News Releases 2001

Increased EVAL Production Facilities Overseas

June 14, 2001
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

EVAL

Kuraray will double the annual production capacity of EVAL Europe N.V. (located in Belgium) by 12,000 tons to 24,000 tons, to cope with the growing demand on the world market for EVOH resin (sold by Kuraray under the brand name of EVAL). The new facilities are scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2003 at an estimated investment of ¥8.5 billion.
EVAL is a functional resin developed by Kuraray that has been in growing demand since the start of production in 1972 - mainly for use as a food packaging material - thanks to its superior gas-barrier properties. In recent years, the scope of application of EVAL has been spreading to non-food areas, including demand for use in automobile plastic fuel tanks with a barrier layer of EVAL. Total world demand for this product - mainly in Europe, the U.S., and Japan - is continuing to rise at an annual rate of over 10%. The Company has plants for EVAL production in Okayama, Japan (annual production capacity of 10,000 tons), in Pasadena, Texas, the U.S. (Eval Company of America, annual capacity of 23,000 tons), and in Antwerp, Belgium (EVAL Europe N.V., annual capacity of 12,000 tons), giving a total production capacity of 45,000 tons. The Company estimates that its current capacity will not meet growing demand and has thus decided to expand capacity in Europe.
Kuraray designates EVAL as one of its core businesses in the 5-year New Medium-Term Business Plan, dubbed "G-21", which focuses on the strengthening and expansion of its global businesses by taking full advantage of Kuraray's unique products and technologies. EVAL is also one of our focal products in the strategic area of eco-friendly field, and is seen as an invaluable tool in achieving concrete realization of Kuraray's expressed aim of becoming an eco-friendly enterprise with unique technology. In line with this goal, we will ensure that the new production facilities feature process improvements that take environmental preservation needs into consideration.
Kuraray is considering a similar plan for Eval Company of America, under which capacity may be increased by 12,000 tons or by 24,000 tons. In this way, Kuraray will continue to expand EVAL operations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

Outline of Production Capacity Increase at EVAL Europe N.V.

Location

Antwerp, Belgium

Production capacity

12,000 tons/year(current)
+12,000 tons/year(additional)
(start of construction in January 2002;
completion of work in 3rd qtr. of 2003)
24,000 tons/year(Total after completion of new facilities)

Total after completion of new facilities

24,000 tons/year

Estimated investment cost

8.5 billion

´╝łAttachment´╝ë

1. Estimated EVOH Market Volume (by Kuraray) (tons)

  2000 2005
North, Central, South America 27,000 45,000
Europe 15,000 30,000
Japan, Asia 13,000 20,000
Total 55,000 95,000

2. Properties of EVAL Resin

  • Excellent gas (oxygen) barrier (10,000 times better than polyethylene)
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Eco-friendly (Recyclable, Chlorine and dioxin free)

3. Major end use application

Food packaging 75%
Non food application such as fuel tank and pipe 25%

4. Profile of EVAL Europe N.V.

Name of the company EVAL Europe N.V.
Headquarters Zwijndrecht, Belgium
Current Capacity 12,000 tons per year
President Junshi Hata
Capital 1.2 billion BEF

5. Profile of Eval Company of America

Name of the Company Eval Company of America
Headquarters Lisle Illinois USA
Lisle Illinois USA 23,000 tons
President Thomas W. McHugh
Capital 4.15 million US$