Toray Industries Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) announced on Feb. 17 that it has purchased approximately 400 acres of commercial land for future business expansion in Spartanburg County, S.C., USA. Although Toray does not explicitly state why the land was acquired, the property's proximity to Boeing's South Carolina 787 assembly facility, coupled with statements in the below statement, suggest that it will be used to expand carbon fiber and carbon fiber prepreg manufacturing capacity.
Toray says the USA is expected to regain its industrial competitiveness on the back of shale gas/oil revolution and the resulting revival in manufacturing. It is going to be the key market for Toray’s business expansion, also given the high demands for advanced materials as seen in promotion of developing cutting-edge technologies in the aircraft, energy-related industries. In addition, the U.S.’s importance as an access point to Latin America, including Mexico and Brazil, whose economies are expected to grow in future is increasing.
Toray plans to actively invest its management resources in the acquired land to make it its advanced material business base. In the carbon fiber composite material business, in which demand is expected to grow for high-performance, high-quality carbon fiber TORAYCA in aircraft and natural gas pressure vessel applications, Toray has already been considering a plan t o newly build an integrated high-performance carbon fiber production facility that covers from raw material fiber (precursor) spinning to carbonization as well as a production facility for TORAYCA prepreg. The company plans to accelerate the expansion of the business in the U.S. by making roughly ¥100 billion worth of investments by 2020.
Under the new medium-term management program Project AP-G 2016, to be launched in April 2014, Toray Group sets a basic strategy of business expansion in growth fields and growth regions. Particularly in pursuit of business expansion of growth countries and regions, Toray is upgrading its Asia and Emerging Country Business Expansion (AE) Project under Project AP-G 2013 into the Asia, America and Emerging Country Business Expansion (AE-II) Project by adding Americas to it. By doing so, the group will proactively accelerate its business expansion also in North and Latin Americas without limiting the expansion being implemented in Asia and emerging countries.
The acquisition of the new commercial land announced this time is very much a part of this AE-II Project. Toray Group will continue to aggressively promote enhancement of organic collaborations among its overseas bases as well as the expansion of new markets.
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Part of the development strategy will focus on two new sectors for the company: aerospace and automotive.