November 27, 2007
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp.

Expansion of production capacity for Hipore™

Asahi Kasei Chemicals will increase production capacity for Hipore™ Li-ion rechargeable battery separators from 100 million m2/year to 150 million m2/year to meet growing demand in mobile electronics applications. The expansion will be performed in two phases at its Hipore Plant in Moriyama, Shiga, Japan; 20 million m2/year of the increased capacity will come online in fiscal 2008, and the remaining 30 million m2/year in fiscal 2009.

Hipore™ is a microporous polyolefin membrane separator placed between the anode and cathode of Li-ion rechargeable batteries. The separator prevents contact between the electrodes while allowing Li ions to pass through. The Hipore™ business has grown as a strategic field of expansion for the Asahi Kasei Group, and Hipore™ is the world's leading Li-ion rechargeable battery separator, with a market share of some 50%. The present production capacity of 100 million m2/year was reached in October 2006 with the completion of a large new production line at the plant in Moriyama.

The decision to raise capacity by an additional 50% by fiscal 2009 is based on solid forecasts for demand growth in Li-ion rechargeable batteries for cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, and other mobile electronics applications. Subsequent additions of production capacity are now being studied, with facilities to be located at a second site in addition to Moriyama.

With the expansion announced today and further expansions to follow, Asahi Kasei Chemicals will reinforce its leading competitive position in the field of Li-ion rechargeable battery separators, fulfilling its commitment as the market leader to maintain stable supply growth over the long term.

Overview of the expansion
Location: Moriyama, Shiga, Japan
First phase: 20 million m2/year increase in fiscal 2008
(total capacity increasing to 120 million m2/year)
Second phase: 30 million m2/year increase in fiscal 2009
(total capacity increasing to 150 million m2/year)
Total investment: ≈¥10 billion


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