Kuraray Co., Ltd. has decided to manufacture methacrylic resin sheets in China. Construction of a 3,000-ton per year factory will begin in June 2004, and the new plant will commence operations in the summer of 2005.

Methacrylic resin has some of the best transparency and weather resistance properties of any plastic, and so it is widely used in familiar products such as electric signboards, lighting fixtures, and automobile taillight covers. In recent years, demand for LCD light guide plates and other optics-related products employing the optical properties of methacrylic resin has been expanding.

China is now experiencing a boom in construction, chiefly in coastal areas, bringing higher demand for methacrylic resin sheets. This market, consequently, is expanding at an annual rate of over 10%. At the same time, the number of up-market condominiums and hotels is increasing, so demand for methacrylic resin sheets for use in bathtubs and other furnishings is expanding. As demand for this material in China is expected to continue rising, Kuraray has decided to establish methacrylic resin sheet manufacturing facilities locally to produce the bathtub sheets(*) developed in Japan, and to further the development of Kuraray's operations in China on the basis of the Company's specialized manufacturing technology.

  • * Bathtub sheets: a deep-draw molding process is used to manufacture bathtub from these sheets.)

The new factory will have an annual capacity of 3,000 tons, and will primarily produce sheets for bathtubs, signboards, and displays. Information on the new company and facilities is as follows.

New Company

Chairman Toshihiro Tomii
President Yasuo Hattori
Location Jiangsu Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park, Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province
Capitalization ¥500 million
Employees 80 (projected)

New Plant

Production capacity 3,000 tons per year (cast process)
Commencement of operations summer, 2005 (scheduled)
Capital investment approximately ¥500 million