Kuraray to invest 4B yen to boost EVAL production capacity at Pasadena, Texas, facility by 12,000 tons/year to 47,000 tons/year; company says EVAL demand is growing steadily, especially for food packaging applications

Alison Gallant

Alison Gallant

Oct 31, 2011 – Kuraray

TOKYO , October 31, 2011 (press release) – Addressing the Expansion in Global Demand for Barrier-Type "Mirabakesso"* EVAL

Kuraray Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Fumio Ito; "Kuraray") today announces that it will boost the ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH resin; Kuraray trademark: EVAL) production capacity of Kuraray America, Inc., a wholly owned Kuraray subsidiary located in the U.S. state of Texas. Brief details are as follows.

* Derived from the campaign phrase Mirai ni Bakeru Shinsozai, which can be literally translated as "new materials that transform into the future"

Background of Capacity Enhancement

Overview of Capacity Enhancement

  • Location EVAL Plant of Kuraray America, Inc. (Pasadena, Texas, the United States)
  • Capacity increase 12,000 tons/year
  • Schedule Expanded facilities to start operations in January 2014
  • Capital investment Approx. ¥4.0 billion

Kuraray Group's EVAL Production Capacity
  Current Capacity Enhancement Enhanced Capacity Location
Kuraray America, Inc. 35,000 12,000 47,000 Texas, the United States
EVAL Europe N.V. 24,000   24,000 Antwerp, Belgium
Kuraray Co., Ltd. 10,000   10,000 Okayama, Japan
Total 69,000 12,000 81,000  

Kuraray America, Inc.

Company name Kuraray America, Inc.
President Kenichi Abe
Capital US$10.1 million (100% investment by Kuraray Holdings U.S.A., Inc.)
Employees Approx. 210
Business Imports and sales of Kuraray chemical and textile products; manufacture and sales of EVOH resin and thermoplastic elastomer
Location 2625 Bay Area Blvd. Suite 300 Houston, Texas 77058-1551, U.S.A.

* EVAL boasts superior gas barrier properties. Thanks to this feature, EVAL demand is steadily expanding, particularly for food packaging applications that offer better food preservation and for automobile fuel tanks that effectively prevent hydrocarbon emissions.
* In recent years, EVAL applications have expanded to include wallpaper, pipes for floor heating systems and thermal insulation boards for refrigerators.
* Previously, the increase in EVAL demand has been centered primarily in industrialized nations, such as Japan and the United States as well as those in Europe. However, demand is now rising in emerging nations. To secure a stable supply structure, Kuraray has concluded that it is necessary to boost its EVAL production capacity.

* EVAL is Kuraray's trademark for EVOH resin

* Kuraray was the first to commercialize this high-performance resin, which it launched in 1972. EVAL boasts the highest level of gas barrier properties among all plastics. Kuraray commands an approximately 65% share of the global EVOH resin market.

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