November 26, 2008
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp.

Expansion of capacity for Hipore™ in Moriyama and Hyuga
Asahi Kasei Chemicals will increase production capacity for Hipore™ Li-ion rechargeable battery separators at its plant in Moriyama, Shiga, Japan, from 150 million m2/year to 165 million m2/year and at its new plant currently under construction in Hyuga, Miyazaki, Japan, from 20 million m2/year to 40 million m2/year. Upon scheduled start-up in spring 2010, these expansions will raise total Hipore™ production capacity to over 200 million m2/year.

Hipore™ is a microporous polyolefin membrane separator placed between the anode and cathode of Li-ion rechargeable batteries, preventing contact between the electrodes while allowing Li ions to pass through. It is the world's leading Li-ion rechargeable battery separator, with a market share of some 50%.

The Hipore™ business is a key focus for strategic expansion in the field of electronics-related products under the Asahi Kasei Group's Growth Action – 2010 management initiative. The simultaneous expansions announced today mark the latest phase in a program of strategic growth of this business, with capacity at the plant in Moriyama recently raised to 120 million m2/year and further construction under way which will soon raise it to 150 million m2/year, and a new plant with a capacity of 20 million m2/year under construction in Hyuga. Through this program of expansion and growth, Asahi Kasei Chemicals continues to extend its unwavering commitment as the market leader to maintain stable supply growth over the long term, reinforcing its leading competitive position in the field of Li-ion rechargeable battery separators.

Despite minor fluctuations attributable to a slackening global economy, worldwide growth in demand for Li-ion rechargeable battery separators is forecast remain solid over the near term, largely in the cylindrical batteries used for notebook PCs, which account for a majority of the market. Over the longer term, from 2010-2015, demand growth in portable electronics applications is expected to be complemented by new demand in automotive applications, including both hybrid electric vehicles and all-electric vehicles. Asahi Kasei Chemicals will continue its strategic program of expansion through the addition of additional new production lines in correlation with global demand growth.
Essentials of the expansions
    Location: Moriyama, Shiga, Japan
    Capacity: 15 million m2/year, raising total in Moriyama to 165 million m2/year
    Start-up: Spring 2010
    Total investment: ≈¥4 billion
    Location: Hyuga, Miyazaki, Japan
    Capacity: 20 million m2/year (Line No. 2), raising total in Hyuga to 40 million m2/year
    Start-up: Spring 2010
    Total investment: ≈¥5 billion


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