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Toray to enter large tow carbon fiber business via $584M acquisition of Zoltec; wind and automotive markets

Toray Industries, Inc. is acquiring Zoltek Companies, Inc. for approximately $584 million ($16.75 per share). Zoltek is a large two carbon fiber manufacturer; large tow carbon fiber is carbon fiber with 40,000 or more filaments applied for applications such as wind turbine blades and reinforced plastics compounds, and is produced on modified acrylic staple fiber production lines for textiles. Toray plans to make Zoltek a wholly owned subsidiary in order to enter into large tow carbon fiber business.

The global demand for PAN-based carbon fibers is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of exceeding 15% as an advanced material which contributes not only to energy saving through weight reduction but also to the spread of renewable energy.

Regular tow carbon fiber (carbon fiber with 24,000 or less filaments used for applications such as aircraft and produced on specially designed equipment) is widely being accepted in the field of high performance / high quality application such as aerospace.

However, large tow carbon fiber is anticipated to expand its applications, based on its reasonable balance between cost and performance, to wind energy-related which shows rapid demand growth in recent years, and automobile structural parts in future. It is foreseen that demands for regular tow carbon fiber and large tow fiber will grow separately, reflecting each characteristic.

Zoltek entered into large tow carbon fiber business in 1988, and acquired textile acrylic fiber plants in Hungary and Mexico in 1996 and 2007 respectively, and has been promoting development of large tow carbon fiber application and demand.

Not having large tow carbon fiber in its product line up, Toray has been considering how to address promising growth in applications such as wind energy and automobile structural parts application. By acquiring Zoltek, Toray has obtained opportunity for further growth, expanding its business in a different field from regular tow carbon fiber.


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