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Toray To Acquire Zoltek

Tokyo-based Toray Industries Inc. — a global conglomerate that operates businesses in numerous markets including Fibers & Textiles, Fashion & Apparel, Carbon Fibers & Composite Materials, Plastics, Chemicals and Films, among several other businesses — has agreed to acquire St. Louis-based large tow carbon fibers manufacturer Zoltek Companies Inc. for approximately $584 million. Toray plans to make Zoltek a wholly owned subsidiary whereby it will be able to gain a foothold in large-tow carbon fiber markets.

Toray has been active in regular tow carbon fiber markets for some time, providing product for high-performance applications such as aerospace. The company foresees increasing global demand for polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based carbon fibers and expanded applications for large tow carbon fiber in commodity industrial areas including wind energy and automotive structural components.

Zoltek has been active in the large tow carbon fiber business since 1988. It has expanded over the years, acquiring a textile acrylic fiber plant in Hungary in 1996 and another in Mexico in 2007. The company has seen an increased demand for its fiber in particular for applications related to wind energy. Earlier this year, Zoltek received the 2013 North American Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for Zoltek Panex® 35, which it developed as a lightweight, economical and price-stable solution for automotive parts applications, and which also offers consistent quality under high-volume production, as well as good electrical and mechanical properties, according to the company.

October 1, 2013