Tokyo -- Toray Industries Inc. has bought the remaining shares in its subsidiary Société des Fibres de Carbone SA (Soficar) which makes carbon fibre in France. The Japanese fibre maker formerly had a 70 percent stake, and has added Arkema's 30 percent stake.
Toray is renaming Soficar. It will be called Toray Carbon Fibers Europe SA (CFE), to show Toray's "strong commitment to European customers and end-users as a Toray group company," said a Toray announcement. The unit is the strategic base of Toray's carbon-fibre composite materials business in Europe.
Soficar currently has carbon fibre capacity of 5200 tonnes a year. Toray said it plans to accelerate its move to establish an integrated value chain of carbon fiber Torayca and expand the business through installing new production lines for raw material fibre (precursor) and prepreg for aircraft application in the future, as well as further expansion of carbonization capacity at new CFE.
Toray notes that in 2011 global demand for polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based carbon fibre is estimated to reach almost 40 000 tonnes and is expected to continue growing significantly at an annual rate exceeding 15 percent.
As a result, Toray said, it aims accelerate application developments in aerospace, sporting goods and general industry and expand its carbon fibre composite materials business through strengthening the production network to be based on current three sites in Japan, France and the US -- plus Korea from 2013.