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Toray Industries, Inc. announced on the 10th of January that it purchased the remaining shares in Société des Fibres de Carbone S.A. (“SOFICAR”), a subsidiary engaged in manufacturing and sales of carbon fibers in France, in which Toray held a 70% stake, from Arkema, the French business partner with a 30% stake in SOFICAR and made it into a wholly owned subsidiary.
Along with the purchase of the remaining stake, Toray is renaming SOFICAR as Toray Carbon Fibers Europe S.A. (hereinafter referred to as “CFE”) in order to show its strong commitment to European customers and end-users as the Toray group company.SOFICAR was established in 1982 as a joint venture with Elf Aquitaine (investment ratio: 35% by Toray and 65% by Elf Aquitaine). Since Toray increased its stake to 70% in 1988, SOFICAR has been expanding its business as the strategic base of Toray’s carbon fiber composite materials business in Europe.SOFICAR currently has carbon fiber production capacity of 5,200 tons a year. After making the company into a wholly owned subsidiary, Toray plans to further accelerate its move to establish the integrated value chain of carbon fiber Torayca® and expand the business through installing new production lines of raw material fiber (precursor) and prepreg for aircraft application in the future, as well as further expansion of carbonization capacity at new CFE.According to Toray, Global demand for polyacrylonitrile(PAN)-based carbon fiber in 2011 is estimated to reach almost 40,000 tons and it is expected to continue growing significantly at an annual rate exceeding 15%. In anticipation of expansion of the carbon fiber market, Toray Group shall strive to accelerate application developments in the fields of aerospace, sporting goods and general industry and expand its carbon fiber composite materials business through strengthening the production network to be based on the current three sites in Japan, France and the U.S. plus Republic of Korea from 2013.