Japanese synthetic fiber maker Toray Industries said on May 10 it had agreed a 15-year deal to supply aircraft giant Airbus with materials for wings and fuselages from 2011.
A Toray spokesman said the size of the order had not been determined, but the Nikkei business daily reported that the deal could be worth as much as 200-300 billion yen (US$2.2-3.2 billion.)
The deal marks a major advance for Toray, the manufacturer of various products made with carbon fiber, a strong and lightweight material used for a range of industrial applications.
In 2006, Toray signed a 16-year contract worth at least $6 billion to supply carbon fiber materials for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
"The long-term basic supply agreement signed this time is expected to strengthen Torays relationship with EADS, in particular with Airbus, and to enable it to further increase the supply of high quality, high-performance materials for aircraft applications," Toray said.
Toray is working hard to persuade Airbus parent EADS to use its carbon fiber composite materials for making wings and fuselages for the A350 XWB, the next generation medium-sized jet airplane.
"Our product's strength is that it allows for the jet's weight reduction, contributing to fuel efficiency and cutting greenhouse gas emissions," said the spokesman, Yoshitaka Yamagata.
Toray also announced a net loss of 14.2 billion yen for the financial year ended March, but said it had returned to an operating profit of 40.1 billion yen from a loss of 36.0 billion the previous year thanks partly to the falling price of crude oil used for carbon fibers.
For the year to March 2011, Toray expects to post a 25 billion yen net profit and 60 billion yen operating profit on sales of 1.5 trillion yen.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010