Toray to Expand Man-Made Suede "Alcantara" Facilities in ItalyOSAKA, Japan--Oct. 3, 2001--Toray Industries, Inc. announced today that it will expand its Italian-based man-made suede production facility, dubbed Alcantara S.p.A.
The subsidiary was created in partnership with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. It produces the man-made suede "Alcantara" (called "Ecsaine" in the Japanese market).
Alcantara will invest a total of 3.5 billion yen (33.9 million Euro) to expand the plant, which is located in the city of Terni. The move comes amid growing demand for the product for automotive interiors. Existing equipment will be replaced and a new state-of-the-art production line, which will enable production of wider expanses of material, will go online in September 2002. As a result, annual production of Alcantara will jump by 500,000 square meters to 10 million square meters.
Alcantara currently enjoys approximately 65% of the European market for high quality furniture and car seat covering materials. Particularly, auto applications continue to grow steadily at an annual rate of 10%. European automakers have enthusiastically adopted Alcantara as seat cushioning for their luxury-range automobiles based on the material's high-quality, texture, abundant color choices and easy care characteristics.
Individual automakers are continuing to slash costs in a bid to survive heated competition in an industry which is witnessing increased restructuring and cross-brand alliances on a worldwide scale. Under such conditions, Alcantara has established a firm position for itself in the luxury-range auto market. The company hopes to expand the business even further in the future based on Alcantara's suitability for other auto applications, including ceiling and trunk padding.
Toray previously upgraded its Alcantara production line in 1998 and 1999. The latest expansion effort will enable the company to set up a system to standardize its products not only for furniture, but also automobile applications.
The global high-grade man-made suede market, which is comprised mainly of Japan, Europe and the United States, accounted for approximately 23 million square meters of material in 1999. Demand is expected continue growing at an annual rate of 5-6 percent.
Outline of Alcantara S.p.A. Capital: 10.8 million Euro (approximately 1.1 billion yen) Shareholders: Toray Industries, Inc. (70%) Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (30%) President: Nicola Santangelo Headquarters location: Milan, Italy Plant location: Terni City, Italy Established: April, 1974 Business: Spinning, leather production and dyeing of man-made suede