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

Background of Capacity Enhancement

  • EVAL boasts superior gas barrier properties. Thanks to this feature, EVAL demand continues to grow, 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 agricultural and industrial products in addition to wallpaper, pipes for floor heating systems and vacuum insulation panels for refrigerators.
  • Previously, the increase in EVAL demand had 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.
  • The Kuraray Group outlined the deepening of its core businesses as one of the main management strategies of its GS-STEP medium-term management plan, which commenced in fiscal 2015. In the core vinyl acetate business, Kuraray is continuing to strengthen its base of operations globally as the No. 1 supplier. As for EVAL, with this enhancement, which follows on last year’s production enhancement in Europe, Kuraray aims to expand its business as a leading company in the area of EVOH resin and barrier materials.

Overview of Capacity Enhancement

Location EVAL Plant of Kuraray America, Inc. (Pasadena, Texas, U.S.A.)
Capacity increase 11,000 tons/year
Schedule Expanded facilities to start operations in mid-2018

Kuraray Group’s EVAL Production Capacity (Unit: tons/year)

Current Capacity Enhancement Under Way*1 New Enhancement Enhanced Capacity Location
Kuraray America, Inc. 47,000 11,000 58,000 Texas, the United States
EVAL Europe N.V. 24,000 11,000 35,000 Antwerp, Belgium
Kuraray Co., Ltd. 10,000 10,000 Okayama, Japan
Total 81,000 11,000 11,000 103,000
  • *1.Operations are slated to commence at the end of 2016. For further details, please see the press release dated February 6, 2015, and entitled, “Kuraray to Boost EVAL Production Capacity in Europe.”