Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Osaka; President: Shobu Minatono) has announced that the prices of domestic and overseas shipments of activated carbon products including granulated charcoal which holds the top share of the domestic market will rise beginning on November 1. The prices of some brands will rise 10% and the price of reprocessed activated carbon will rise 5%.

Between fiscal 2000 and fiscal 2003, demand in the domestic activated carbon market grew by approximately 9,000 tons to approximately 100,000 tons, including total demand for powdered, granulated carbon, and reprocessed carbon. This was largely the result of demand for environmental purposes, such as the abatement of dioxins, foul odors, and other air pollutants, and the purification of water supplies and wastewater.

However, the price of coal, an important component of activated carbon, has been driven up by the continued increase in overseas freight charges. This is the result of the worldwide expansion of demand for coal, particularly in China. Unusually bad weather in Southeast Asia has resulted in a very tight supply of coconut shell, another important material in activated carbon production. In addition, substantially higher crude oil prices have driven up the domestic prices of fuels, including kerosene and heavy oil.

To this point, Kuraray has striven to maintain stability of supply and quality standards of its activated carbon products while absorbing these cost increases through rationalization and other corporate efforts. However, the steep increases in the prices of raw materials and fuels have exceeded Kuraray's ability to absorb them. To ensure stability of supply, maintain quality standards, and remain in the black, it has unfortunately become necessary to adjust the prices of these products.

1. Products affected
All activated carbon products, domestic and overseas shipments.
2. Scope of adjustment
Product Principal applications Increase
Granulated charcoal Treatment of water supplies and wastewater, decolorization and purification 10%
Coconut shell charcoal Air and water purification, deodorization, catalyst 10%
Pelletized carbon Industrial deodorization, solvent recovery 10%
Reprocessed carbon General 5%
3. Date of adjustment
Effective for shipments beginning November 1, 2004.