Kuraray Co., Ltd. announces the expansion of its PVB (polyvinyl butyral) resin production capacities at its European subsidiary, Kuraray Europe GmbH ("KEG," based in Frankfurt, Germany) by 10,000 tons per annum to a total of 39,000 tons. This was in response to growing demand for PVB resin under the brand name MOWITAL. Plant expansion is planned for completion in July 2009.

PVB resin is made from polyvinyl alcohol resin (PVA), which was first industrialized by Kuraray in 1950. Today, demand for PVB resin has expanded to applications for windows in the construction industry and interlayer films for laminated safety glass of shatter-resistant automotive windshields, as well as for use in the paint and ink industry.

Kuraray acquired the PVA and PVB resin businesses from Clariant AG in 2001 and the PVB film business from HT Troplast in 2004. On the back of these acquisitions, Kuraray established an integrated production system for raw material PVA resin, PVB resin and films at KEG, reinforcing and expanding the downstream development of the vinyl acetate and Poval-related businesses.

After the abovementioned acquisitions, Kuraray has been reinforcing its PVB resin production capacity through facility remodeling (de-bottlenecking) in response to robust demand, mainly for laminated safety glass in the European construction industry. Given the ongoing steady demand increase, Kuraray decided to expand new production lines.

The Kuraray Group continuously strives for the development of new products that will promptly meet market needs and create new markets, while reinforcing the expansion of its vinyl acetate and Poval-related businesses.

Overview of the Capital Investment

Production capacity Current 29,000 tons/year
Capacity after completion 39,000 tons/year (up 34%)
Location Frankfurt, Germany
Completion date July 2009

Capacity of the PVB Resin Production Facility

Date Annual Production Capacity (Increase) Remarks
December 2001 16,000 tons (Newly acquired)
2003 20,000 tons (+4,000 tons) De-bottlenecking
2005 22,000 tons (+2,000 tons) De-bottlenecking
2006 25,000 tons (+3,000 tons) De-bottlenecking
2007 29,000 tons (+4,000 tons) De-bottlenecking
Commenced in February 2008
Completion in July 2009 (Planned)
39,000 tons (+10,000 tons) Establishment of new line

Overview of Kuraray Europe GmbH (KEG)

Company name Kuraray Europe GmbH
Capital 31,000,000 euros (100% investment by Kuraray)
President Dr. Gerd Lepper
Headquarters Frankfurt, Germany
Principal businesses Manufacture and sale of PVA resin (MOWIOL), PVB resin (MOWITAL) and film Import and sale of fibers and textiles, chemicals, and dental materials
Employees Approximately 540