To meet the growing worldwide demand for Kuraray's EVOH resin EVAL, the Company's Belgian subsidiary EVAL Europe N.V. has commenced work this month on additional production facilities that will double its annual output to 24,000 tons. The new facilities are expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2004.

EVAL is a high-performance resin commercialized by Kuraray in 1972, the first such in the world. EVAL exhibits superior gas-barrier properties compared with other synthetic resins. This not only makes it an ideal material for food containers and packaging, but has also opened up a new field of opportunity in non-food uses such as automobile plastic fuel tanks. The market for EVAL in Japan, the U.S., and Europe is currently expanding at over 10% per year.

The Kuraray Group has a total global annual production capacity of 45,000 tons of EVAL, divided among its three production bases in Japan (the Okayama Plant), the United States (EVAL Company of America, Texas) and Europe (EVAL Europe N.V., Belgium), but this is expected soon to become insufficient, in view of steadily rising demand.

The new production facilities will be designed to handle various different types of EVAL product, and will employ a new process that is more environmentally friendly. They will feature sharply reduced emissions of VOC (volatile organic compounds) and emissions of BOD (biological oxygen demand) substances into waste water.

Essential data on new production facilities at EVA Europe N.V.

Location Antwerp, Belgium
Annual production capacity 12,000 tons(current)
When new facilities begin operation (3rd quarter of 2004): 24,000 tons
Capital expenditure ¥8,500 million (approx.)

Additional information

1. Estimated demand for EVOH resins (tons)
(term ending March 31, 2003)
(term ending March 31, 2008)
The Americas 31,000 50,000
Europe 20,000 35,000
Asia (incl. Japan) 13,000 25,000
Total 64,000 110,000
2 Main applications of EVAL
Food containers and packaging (mayonnaise, ketchup, etc.) 70%
Non-food uses (e.g. plastic fuel tank) 30%
3. EVAL production capacity of the Kuraray Group
Kuraray's Okayama Plant (Japan) 10,000 tons
EVAL Company of America 23,000 tons
EVAL Europe N.V. 12,000 tons
Total. 45,000 tons
4. Outline of EVAL Europe N.V.
  • (1) Company name: EVAL Europe N.V.
  • (2) Head office: Antwerp, Belgium
  • (3) Annual production capacity: 12,000 tons
  • (4) President: Junshi Hata
  • (5) Capital:€29,750,000
5. Outline of EVAL Company of America
  • (1) Company name: EVAL Company of America
  • (2) Head office: Houston, Texas
  • (3) Annual production capacity: 23,000 tons
  • (4) President: Nobuya Tomita
  • (5) Capital: US$4,150,000