Toray Advanced Materials Korea Inc., a member of Japan-based Toray Industries Inc., will invest 1 trillion won in Korea by 2020, which is expected to create 500 new jobs.
Akihiro Nikkaku, president of Toray Industries Inc. and Lee Young-gwan, chairman of the Toray Korea Group, announced at a media briefing on Oct. 19 that the investments will go to “super engineered plastics” and the expansion of a second battery separator manufacturing plant in Korea. The investments are being made to make Toray Korea Group into a collective enterprise with 5 trillion won in annual sales revenue.
The joint announcements were made at Plaza Hotel in downtown Seoul. Toray’s Gunsan Plant is located in the foreign investment district, taking advantage of a number of incentives including free real estate , national and local tax reductions, in addition to infrastructural support with the further development of Gunsan Harbor to accommodate bigger ships.
A total of 550 billion won of the 1 trillion won will go towards the second battery separator plant and the Toray battery separator film coating plants in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province and Ochang in North ChungCheong Province.
Toray Korea is boosting its contributions to the local society with four of its affiliates deciding to jointly set up a public foundation to support the research of basic science in Korea. The fund will be made up of companies donating 1 percent of their operating profits annually. Japanese companies also decided to set up the Toray Korea Social Contribution Team to make corporate contributions to Korea’s society. CEO Nikkaku said Toray is not in Korea for short-term profits, but for the long-term prospective to work for the progress of the Korean industry, the expansion of Korean exports, and progress in the development of technologies.
Toray opened its doors in 1926 and has grown to be a leading raw materials manufacturer in the world, supplying its carbon fibers to Boeing and heating materials to Uniqlo for its warm underwear. Toray entered Korea in 1963 by providing the technology to produce nylon to Kolon Industries in Korea. The Japanese company invested in Samsung’s Cheil Textile to take a 34 percent stake in the company in 1972, which is now named Toray Chemical.
Toray Advanced Materials Korea, Inc. (TAK), an affiliate of Japan’s Toray Industries, Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony for Gumi Plant No. 4 that will produce high-tech materials such as carbon fibers.
The plant is to be built with a floor area of 270,000 square meters leased by TAK in the Gumi National Industrial Complex 5 in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, at a cost of 425 billion won ($379 million), including direct investment of 141.6 billion won, until 2021. By 2030, the plant would draw funding of around 5 trillion won.
Akihiro Nikkaku, President of Toray Industries, vowed to make further contributions to the Korean economy by nurturing the plant as the hub for high-tech materials industry.
Once completed, Toray’s Korean annual output of 43,000 metric tons will expand to 61,000 metric tons. The new plant will turn out carbon fibers that are used to minimize the weight of automobiles and develop green cars. It also will produce polyester films that are applied to numerous industry fields from general food packaging to electronic components.
Toray invested $1 billion in a new carbon fiber plant in South Carolina last year, and more recently in Mexico, which resulted in an additional $2.6 billion supply agreement with Boeing.
This serves as validation to the long-term management strategy that Toray has had throughout the years of a passion for carbon fiber, whereas a lot of other companies dropped out because of short-term profit concerns.
“Since carbon fibers were first invented in the 1960s we have continued research and development on carbon fibers for 50 years,” a company spokesperson said. “Because of the characteristic of carbon fibers, being that they are strong, light and do no rust, we knew from the beginning that they would be an optimal for aircraft.
“We were determined to conduct R&D to pursue a good product. It’s true that there are new innovative materials, but because they haven’t been used, until then it is still not clear what they are most suited for.