Kuraray has decided to expand its manufacturing facilities for KURALON at the Okayama Plant (Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture) by 5,000 tons annually in order to meet growing demand for this polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fiber. With operations scheduled to start in December 2008, the expansion will raise annual production capacity from the current level of 35,000 tons to 40,000 tons.

In 1950, Kuraray commenced production of KURALON-Japan's first synthetic fiber with PVA as a raw material. KURALON was initially used for clothing such as school uniforms, as well as for fishing nets, rope, and agricultural and marine materials. By taking advantage of the material's merits including high strength, high elasticity, low extensibility, and alkali resistance, applications for KURALON have broadened and it is now used in fiber-reinforced cement (FRC), paper, nonwoven fabrics and rubber materials.

Amid a major worldwide movement to control asbestos in recent years, the use of FRC in roofing material and as construction material is steadily expanding. Up until now, major markets have mainly comprised Western Europe and Japan, but market expansion is expected in emerging countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and Central America.

The KURALON business is one of the businesses in the vinyl acetate industry that the Company is aiming to grow, and with the expansion of its KURALON manufacturing facilities, Kuraray will meet user needs as the world's No.1 supplier. Furthermore, the expansion provides an opportunity for Kuraray to raise the proportion of its high-strength-type differentiated products as it takes on the challenge of resolutely pursuing the next stage of industrial science.

Overview of Capital Investment

1. Location

Okayama Plant, 1-2-1 Kaigan Dori, Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture
(General Manager Takayoshi Ohsaki)

2. Production capacity

Current 35,000 tons/year
Additional capacity 5,000 tons/year
Total 40,000 tons/year

3. Capital investment

Approximately ¥2 billions

4. Planned completion

December 2008