Japan’s Asahi Kasei & Mitsui to combine spunbond nonwovens businesses

Japan’s Asahi Kasei has announced that its board of directors has approved a final agreement regarding the transfer of business related to the development, manufacturer, and sale of spunbond nonwoven products to a joint venture company to be established by joint incorporation-type company separation with Mitsui Chemicals, effective from October 2, 2023.

Mitsui Chemicals is also scheduled to transfer its business related to the development, manufacture, and sale of spunbond and other nonwoven products to the new joint venture company by The Separation. The Separation is conditional upon receipt of necessary regulatory clearances, approvals, based on competition laws, in Japan and Thailand. As The Separation is a simplified incorporation-type company separation for Asahi Kasei in accordance with the Article 805 of Japan’s Companies Act, certain items and content are omitted from this disclosure, Asahi Kasei said in a press release.

Asahi Kasei began the manufacture and sale of spunbond nonwoven fabric products in 1973, and currently operates the business internationally. By leveraging technology cultivated over many years in its fibres business, Asahi Kasei developed many original products that are used by customers in a wide range of applications in sanitary, industrial, and consumer material fields. Proactive overseas expansion includes the establishment of a manufacturing and sales base in Thailand in 2012.

Mitsui Chemicals also performs the development, manufacture, and sale of spunbond products around the world. Since it began manufacturing and selling spunbond fabrics in 1971, Mitsui Chemicals has leveraged its strength of integrated development and manufacturing from upstream raw materials to develop and sell distinctive spunbond products for sanitary applications, oil absorption in industrial fields, automotive interiors, civil engineering, filters, etc. Proactive overseas expansion includes the establishment of a manufacturing and sales base in Thailand in 2001.

With increasing demand for spunbond nonwoven fabric products around the world, Asahi Kasei and Mitsui Chemicals have each pursued independent business strategies and advanced various measures to expand business by increasing production capacity and developing new products while improving quality and streamlining operations.

In Asia, competition in the spunbond nonwovens market is expected to intensify further due to the continued establishment and expansion of production capacity by competing manufacturers, as well as the effect of elimination of tariffs due to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for East Asia. Asahi Kasei considers maintaining competitiveness and stable earnings while continuously expanding the businesses to be of critical importance. Furthermore, there is a need to quickly raise sustainability and resilience aspects of the business, as expectations of society regarding the environment and stable supply increase year by year.

Under these circumstances, Asahi Kasei and Mitsui Chemicals held successive discussions on measures and possibilities for strengthening the spunbond business, which led to the conclusion that transforming it into a sustainable growth business by combining the spunbond businesses of both companies would be the best solution.

Moving forward, the combined business will aim to achieve continuous growth and contribute to sustainability as a leading spunbond manufacturer in Asia by strengthening and expanding business foundations in Asia and enhancing competitiveness by integrating the proprietary technologies and expertise of both parent companies from raw materials development to product development.


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