kuraray


News Releases 2005

Kuraray Acquires VECTRAN High-performance Fibers Business of Celanese Advanced Materials Inc.

April 7, 2005
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

Kuraray has decided to acquire the VECTRAN High-performance polyarylate fiber business of the Celanese Advanced Materials Inc., (below,"CAMI"), an affiliate of Celanese Corporation, U.S.. A contract covering the purchase of all CAMI assets related to its VECTRAN business was signed on April 1, 2005. The acquisition is expected to take place by the end of April 2005.

This business is headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and is engaged in the development and sale of VECTRAN fiber throughout the Americas and in Europe. After the acquisition, this business will become a division of Kuraray America Inc. (below, "KAI"), the U. S. subsidiary of Kuraray Co., Ltd. This acquisition will make the Kuraray Group the world's sole source of VECTRAN fiber.

VECTRAN fiber was selected for the special airbags used on NASA's 1997 Mars Pathfinder landing vehicle, and then again in 2004 for the special airbags used on the Spirit and the Opportunity Mars rovers. CAMI has developed a broad range of applications for VECTRAN in the U. S. market, and this led to its use by NASA.

VECTRAN fiber is made of polyarylate polymer which is liquid crystal polymer and is commonly categorized in super high-performance fibers with ultra-high strength and high Young's modulus.
The special property of VECTRAN is low creep, no moisture absorption, high strength retention at extremely low temperatures, and abrasion resistance in wet condition. In Japan, VECTRAN now expanded its sales rapidly to the newer applications including earphone cables, membrane tension members in the Stratospheric Platform Concept dirigible, ropes for tennis & volleyball nets and marine research, and plastic reinforcement in addition to the outstanding businesses such as the fisheries industry.

In the American and European markets VECTRAN is used for example in ropes for marine exploration and development, high-pressure inflatables, protective gloves, in the fields of civil engineering & construction, and optical cable. The development in many new applications and further growth is expected together with the growth in the high technology fields.

Since VECTRAN manufacturing started in 1990, Kuraray has expanded its business through close cooperation with CAMI. This acquisition will allow Kuraray to strengthen its fiber business for industrial applications thanks to the market development synergy with KURALON & KURALON K-Ⅱ (polyvinyl alcohol fiber) and other materials. Direct participation by Kuraray in the large American and European markets made possible the building of an integrated manufacturing and sales system, and to more quickly and precisely gather market information and read market needs. Kuraray's fiber business activity will be much closer to the big American and European, especially to the niche fields of advanced materials, together with the unification of research and development activities in Japan and the U.S..

CAMI's VECTRAN business

1. Company name Celanese Advanced Materials Inc., VECTRAN Division
(An affiliate of the U. S. Celanese Corporation)
2. Location Fort Mill, South Carolina, U. S. A.
3. Annual sales Approximately US$6 million (2004)
4. Number of employees 7
5. Previous relationship to Kuraray Distributor for Kuraray VECTRAN fiber in the American and European markets.

KAI

1. Company name Kuraray America Inc.
2. President Hiroaki Yoshino
3. Headquarters New York
4. Capital US$8,702,000
5. Number of employees 37
6. Major business lines Import and sale of Kuraray products, development of applications and markets for new and existing products, development of new technology, identifying new markets, and collecting information.

Kuraray Co., Ltd.

1. President Yasuaki Wakui
2. Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
3. Annual sales Approximately 332 billion yen.
4. Capital Approximately 89 billion yen
5. Major business lines Production and sale of PVA resins, EVOH resins and their related products, Isoprene chemicals, Methacrylic resins, Manmade leather, Polyester fiber, etc.