Kuraray Co., Ltd. and Kuraray Trading Co., Ltd. have announced that prices for extruded and cast PMMA methacrylic resin sheets will rise effective April 12, 2004.

Extruded PMMA sheets have excellent light transmission properties and thickness accuracy, and are easily used in bonding processes and heat molding. For these reasons, demand for this material is growing. Growth is particularly strong in the optics field, where this material is used in the production of light guide plates for LCDs in equipment such as personal computers and televisions, and for rear-projection television front plates.

Cast PMMA sheets have excellent surface properties because of their high purity, display high heat resistance, and can be precisely colored. Therefore, rising demand for this material is centered in the display, molded signboard, and bathroom fixtures sectors.

With the thriving demand for optical materials, and transparent plastics in particular, the supply and demand balance for PMMA sheets in Japan and the rest of Asia is tight. However, crude oil and naphtha prices are again on an upward swing, and the prices of key materials acetone and methanol continue their steep rise. As a result, both domestic and overseas revenues from sales of PMMA sheets have declined.

In response to these developments, for the purposes of ensuring their ability to provide a stable supply of PMMA sheets and to improve their business performance, Kuraray and Kuraray Trading have decided to increase the prices of extruded and cast PMMA sheets as described below.

1. Products affected
domestic and export shipments of extruded and cast PMMA methacrylic resin sheets.
2. Change in price
an increase of 8%.
3. Effective date
April 12, 2004 (for both extruded and cast sheets).