Japan’s Toray Industries Inc said yesterday that it would invest more than half a billion US dollars to boost synthetic materials production and meet soaring global demand for the stuff of next generation aircraft.
Toray, which supplies the carbon fiber for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, said it was spending US$555 million at plants in Japan, the US, France and South Korea as part of a plan to increase worldwide production by about 50 percent.
The company said the money would go toward ramping up annual production to 27,100 tonnes by March 2015.
About 90 percent of the demand for carbon fiber comes from outside Japan, but the company said half of the investment would be domestic, using a government subsidy to promote job creation.
Three hundred jobs will be created worldwide, with half of them in Japan, it said.
The company said its bases in Japan were “mother plants” that would concentrate on producing advanced materials and act as a base for the development of new technologies and new products.
The investment in the US would be aimed at meeting demand from the expanding market for environmental and energy-related applications, including natural gas pressure vessels used in the extraction of shale gas, it said.
“Toray Group also plans to further expand the business for the Latin American market, mainly Brazil, where the market is expected to grow rapidly in the future,” it said.
Shares in Toray rose 3 percent to ￥584 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.