By Liz White, UT staff
Tokyo-Tosoh Corp. is to raise its stake in Nippon Polyurethane Industry Co. Ltd (NPU) to 51 percent from 35 percent by acquiring NPU shares held by Hodogaya Chemical Co. Ltd.
Tosoh also said it is considering expanding its production of aniline and carbon monoxide, precursors for MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate).
Becoming majority owner of NPU, "further accelerates Tosoh's vinyl-isocyanate strategy, and strengthens ties as the company positions [itself] to establish a more competitive presence in the rapidly expanding polyurethane industry of Asia and especially China," said an 18 April statement from Tosoh.
NPU has annual sales of about Y70 000 million ($596 million) and is a leading supplier of feedstock to the polyurethane industry in Japan and Asia, according to Tosoh. NPU has the largest capacities in Asia Pacific for several key PU products, such as MDI, TDI (toluene diisocyanate), and isocyanate derivatives, the group added.
Polyurethane markets are strong in Asia, Tosoh pointed out, saying total annual demand is expected to grow by almost 10 percent.
Tosoh added that, together with NPU, it achieves cost competitiveness through vinyl isocyanate chain operations. Tosoh supplies essential raw materials-aniline, carbon monoxide, and chlorine-to NPU, and receives back hydrogen chloride for making vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).
A new 200 kilotonnes per annum MDI plant for NPU, due for completion in October 2007, is now being constructed at Tosoh's Nanyo complex. In connection with this, Tosoh said, it is considering additional expansion of its facilities for production of MDI precursors such as aniline and carbon monoxide. Press reports have put an investment figure on this expansion, but a company spokesperson told Urethanes Technology that Tosoh has not issued such a figure, and will, "release investment plans when they are decided upon."
Tosoh said it will also strengthen ties with Hodogaya Chemical through a share increase from 24 to 33 percent. This is expected to support new investments in growth sectors such as electronic materials and improve Hodogaya's financial position.