Toray to Build Carbon Fiber Plant in South Korea

Carbon fiber is used in products from aircraft to turbine blades and sports goods.

Japanese synthetic fiber maker Toray Industries said earlier this week it would spend about $56 million on a new carbon fiber plant in South Korea to meet growing demand in China and other Asian nations.

The move will pave the way for Toray to bolster production in Asia amid surging demand from South Korea and China for carbon fiber, a strong and lightweight material used in products from aircraft to turbine blades and sports goods.

The 63 billion won plant, with an annual production capacity of 2,200 tons, is scheduled to launch operations in January 2013 and will be Toray's first overseas facility outside Europe and the United States.

The plant will be located in Gyeongsangbuk-do, a province in eastern South Korea.

At its existing production bases in Japan, the United States and France, Toray manufactures 17,900 tons of carbon fiber annually. It plans to boost capacity at its domestic plant in Ehime Prefecture by 1,000 tons in September 2012.

Toray's global sales share for carbon fiber in 2010 is estimated to have accounted for 40% of overall global demand of 30,000 tons, a Toray spokesman said.

Global demand for carbon fibre fell sharply in the aftermath of the financial crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, but demand began to recover last year, the spokesman said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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