Kuraray has decided to increase its production capacity of extruded methacrylic resin sheet by 5,000 tons per annum to 28,600 tons. Extruded methacrylic resin sheet is widely used both in Japan and overseas for LCDs used in PCs and other computer monitors, as well as in rear-projection TVs (RPTVs), which are growing in popularity in the United States and China.

Because of its excellent transparency and weatherability, methacrylic resin sheet is in strong demand for signboards, various displays, and large aquarium tanks. Demand for use in optical applications has grown continuously over the past few years, including light-guide panels for LCDs, as well as for front panels for RPTVs.

Kuraray derives a wide variety of products from methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer, the raw material of methacrylic resin sheet, methacrylic resin for molding products and synthetic marble. Kuraray's extruded methacrylic resin sheet is renowned for the precision of its thickness control. By making maximum use of our unique technologies, we have developed a wide range of special applications for this materials, including as optical materials, for molded signs, displays, various fixtures, and light fittings.

Recently, particularly strong sales growth has been seen in optical applications, such as front panels for RPTVs. Kuraray thus decided to expand the Company's production capacity of this material to cope with expected further growth in demand for such optical applications.

This increase will boost the Company's annual production capacity of methacrylic resin sheet from 23,600 tons to 28,600 tons. Kuraray will continue to pursue development into products that make optimum use of the special properties of methacrylic resin sheet, particularly opto-related products, with the goal of expanding the business scale of the Company's MMA operations.

Outline of planned facilities

Annual Production capacity Current - 5,000 tons
After expansion - 28,600 tons
Location Nakajo Plant (Nakajomachi, Kita-Kanbara-gun, Niigata Prefecture)
Amount of investment approximately 1,500 million yen
Start of operation April 2004