Kuraray Acquires VECTRAN High-performance Fibers Business from Celanese Advanced Materials

Kuraray has has announced the decision to acquire the VECTRAN High-performance polyarylate fiber business of the Celanese Advanced Materials Inc., ("CAMI") an affiliate of Celanese Corporation, U.S.. A contract covering the purchase of all CAMI assets related to its VECTRAN business was signed on April 1, 2005. The acquisition is expected to take place by the end of April 2005.

This business is headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and is engaged in the development and sale of VECTRAN fiber throughout the Americas and in Europe. After the acquisition, this business will become a division of Kuraray America Inc. ("KAI"), the U. S. subsidiary of Kuraray Co., Ltd. This acquisition will make the Kuraray Group the world's sole source of VECTRAN fiber.

VECTRAN fiber was selected for the special airbags used on NASA's 1997 Mars Pathfinder landing vehicle, and then again in 2004 for the special airbags used on the Spirit and the Opportunity Mars rovers. CAMI has developed a broad range of applications for VECTRAN in the U. S. market, and this led to its use by NASA.

VECTRAN fiber is made of polyarylate polymer which is liquid crystal polymer and is commonly categorized in super high-performance fibers with ultra-high strength and high Young's modulus. The special property of VECTRAN is low creep, no moisture absorption, high strength retention at extremely low temperatures, and abrasion resistance in wet condition. In Japan, VECTRAN now expanded its sales rapidly to the newer applications including earphone cables, membrane tension members in the Stratospheric Platform Concept dirigible, ropes for tennis & volleyball nets and marine research, and plastic reinforcement in addition to the outstanding businesses such as the fisheries industry.

In the American and European markets VECTRAN is used for example in ropes for marine exploration and development, high-pressure inflatables, protective gloves, in the fields of civil engineering & construction, and optical cable. The development in many new applications and further growth is expected together with the growth in the high technology fields.


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