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PHPI To Open Plant In Scottsboro, Ala., Add 25 Jobs

Scottsboro, Ala.-based Polyamide High Performance Inc. (PHPI) — the North American business unit of PHP, a Germany-based manufacturer of high-tenacity polyamide and polyester yarns and polymers for automotive safety, tire and technical, and broad and narrow weaving applications, among others — has announced a partnership with Toyobo Co. Ltd. — a Japan-based manufacturer of fibers, fabrics, films and resins, among other products — to establish an airbag fabric weaving and finishing business in Scottsboro that will operate under the name SafeTweave Inc.

Toyobo will provide the technology and equipment for SafeTweave's state-of-the-art plant, which will be located in an existing building adjacent to PHPI's nylon spinning plant. PHPI's plant will supply nylon 6,6 for the operation, which will sell its full airbag fabric output to Toyobo Industrial Materials America Inc. to be used in U.S.-made Japanese cars. SafeTweave is expected to begin commercial production in December 2012 and create 25 jobs in the process.

PHPI Sales Director Manuel Guerra noted the endeavor is part of the company's effort to bring insourcing and manufacturing back to the United States. "For one, it's attractive, but also, it's based on the supply chain — we have had issues over the last few years due to earthquakes, the tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand. There's a big push from Japanese original equipment manufacturers to make sure they have localized supply."

Toyobo currently has airbag fabric weaving operations in Japan and Thailand and is partnering with Tokyo-based Toyota Tsusho Corp. to open a new plant in China. Toyobo plans to establish a sales company in Michigan through which it will sell airbag fabrics it procures from SafeTweave.

PHP comprises Polyamide High Performance and its subsidiary Polyester High Performance GmbH. The company has facilities in Germany and the United States and a joint venture in China with China ShenMa Group Co. Ltd.

April 17, 2012