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Mitsubishi Rayon acquires majority of carbon fiber reinforced plastics company Wethje; targeting auto industry

16 August 2014

Mitsubishi Rayon Co. (MRC) recently executed a share sales and purchase agreement by which it will acquire 51% of Wethje Holding GmbH, a German company engaged in manufacturing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) parts for automobile applications, from Wethje parent Cross Industries AG. MRC aims to strengthen and expand the carbon fiber intermediate materials business for automobile applications in Europe.

Wethje shall become a consolidated subsidiary of MRC subject to fulfillment of closing conditions including approvals by appropriate authorities required in Germany and Austria. Moreover, MRC has confirmed that it will build a solid partnership with CROSS by jointly owning Wethje on a long-term basis.

MRC observed that the European Automotive industry is moving towards a full-scale adoption of CFRP parts. As an example, BMW has launched the i3 electric vehicle, which uses CFRP parts for the complete vehicle structure. This development, together with stricter environmental policies, means a further strong push towards an increasing use of CFRP technology within the automotive industry.

Founded in 1979, Wethje is recognized in the European market as a CFRP auto parts manufacturer with high-level technology through the abundant experience of their parts being adapted to luxury vehicles. Also, Wethje is one of the few manufacturers that can utilize both autoclave technology on a small scale production and RTM (resin transfer molding) technology for mid-scale serial production.

MRC has developed PCM (Prepreg Compression Molding) technology enabling the fast cycle times and quality composite parts manufacturing; expanded production bases through the acquisition of Challenge Co., Ltd. and the investment into Action Composites International; and obtained Multi-axial Non Crimp fabric technology used as base material for the RTM method through the acquisition of TK Industries in order to strengthen the carbon fiber intermediate materials business for automobile application.

MRC will utilize Wethje, which will newly join the Group, as a development and production base for CFRP parts and produce results for MRC materials through those products and will further strengthen the supply chain of the carbon fiber intermediate materials business for automobile application in Europe.

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