• Groundbreaking ceremony held to commence construction of RO membrane production facilities
BEIJING, China, Aug. 25, 2009 -- Toray Industries Inc. and China National BlueStar (Group) Co., Ltd. announced that the companies on July 17 established a water treatment joint venture Toray BlueStar Membrane Co., Ltd. (TBMC) in Beijing. The new company has a capital of 35 million U.S. dollars (approximately 3.5 billion yen) and 180 workers and engages in production, sales and import and export of water treatment membrane products.
At the new production facility, the new company will introduce high-speed polyamide composite membrane manufacturing equipment and automatic winders for elements based on Toray's state-of-the-art technology. With this facility, reverse osmosis membrane element production annual capacity of the Toray Group will increase by 1.5 times in 2010 compared with the current level of the capacity including the Ehime Plant and Toray Membrane U.S.A. Inc. which are already operating.
TBMC, as a consolidated subsidiary, will introduce Toray's latest water-treatment membrane technologies and utilize China BlueStar's sales network in the country to supply water treatment membranes, possessing the world's best quality and cost competitiveness, to wastewater recycling and seawater desalination projects in China. The move will further strengthen the global presence of Toray Group's water treatment membrane business centered on reverse osmosis membranes.
Toray positions water treatment business as one of Strategically Expanding Businesses that are expected to grow and contribute significantly to expansion of earnings from 2010 onwards and the company has been focusing its management resources on it. Under the midterm plan for the business, Toray Group aims to grow water treatment-related sales to 67 billion yen in fiscal year 2010 and to more than 100 billion yen in fiscal year 2015. The establishment of TBMC and commencement of operation of the new plant will further ensure the achievement of these goals.
China BlueStar is a core business group of China National Chemical Corporation, or ChemChina. It operates resin and specialty chemicals and other businesses with 45 plants and 17 research centers around the world and annual sales exceeding 40 billion yuan in the previous fiscal year. The group boasts the country's biggest water treatment engineering company and is actively pursuing wastewater reclamation and seawater desalination business in China. China BlueStar's move to establish TBMC jointly with Toray and newly construct production facilities underscores its strong commitment in the water treatment business and it is expected to further facilitate swift response to customer needs and ensure stable supply of related products.
Water treatment membranes are categorized into four types based on the size of particles to be separated: reverse osmosis membrane, nanofilteration membrane, ultrafiltration membrane and microfilteration membrane. Toray is the world's only membrane manufacturer that produces all four types of membranes and it has been attracting attention for its comprehensive technological capability that enables creation of various quality of water from various water resources amid growing concerns over worldwide water shortages in the future.
In China, rapid industrialization fueled by high economic growth has led to sharp increases in the use of water. At the same time, population growth in urban areas resulted in rising demand for water while droughts in the northern region have been causing shortages in water supply. Requirements for recycling of wastewater and seawater desalination using membranes have been growing in China in response to this burgeoning demand. Sales of RO membranes have been growing at an annual rate of 20% prompting many membrane manufacturers from around the world into entering the Chinese market. Toray estimates the market to reach 50 billion yen in five years and aims to capture a 30% share of that market.
Toray Group has established six bases (Japan, the U.S., Europe, Middle East, China and Asia-Pacific) to handle this rapid expansion in the global water treatment membrane market. With its world-leading "membranes and application technology" at the core, Toray will continue to contribute to solving water shortage issues on a global scale by actively pursuing orders not only in China but also the Middle East, Mediterranean and Oceania.