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Technologies for Continuous Production of Honeycomb Core Materials
ITOCHU Corporation has concluded an exclusive license agreement of the technologies for continuous production of honeycomb core, covering the Asia/Pacific Region and the Middle East, and all industrial fields including logistics, packaging, automobiles, aerospace and construction with EconCore N.V. of Belgium (“EconCore”).
The technologies for continuous production of honeycomb core materials which EconCore successfully developed for the first time in the world are expected to dramatically expand the use of honeycomb core materials, which has been practically limited to aerospace and a few other industrial fields.
ITOCHU, recognizing the customers' needs for the continuous honeycomb core materials in a wide spectrum of industrial fields including automobiles, aerospace, and construction through its development activities of these technologies in the logistic and packaging market, has determined to expand the scope of application to all industrial fields.
ITOCHU and EconCore will further collaborate to expand the business on the continuous honeycomb core production exploiting its new market.
Pharmaceutical-Related Business in China
Together with our partner Alfresa Holdings, a broad-based pharmaceuticals wholesaler with the highest turnover of prescription drugs of any company in Japan, we obtained a license for China's first pharmaceutical wholesale operation 100% owned by foreign capital. Subsequently, in 2005 we established REMEJE Pharmaceuticals (China) Co., Ltd., for the import and wholesale of physician supplies, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, cosmetics, and medical equipment. Operations started the same year by supplying imported pharmaceuticals and supplements to the domestic Chinese market.
Our main sales targets are drugstore chains, pharmacies, and hospitals throughout China. The market for pharmaceuticals in China has maintained double-digit growth for the past 20 years and more. In addition, with the introduction of a social insurance and security system, the government advocates self-medication (to take control of your own health and to cure illnesses). REMEJE Pharmaceutical is developing products suited to the needs of China's consumers through business alliances with local wholesalers and drugstore chains.
Polyester raw materials(PTA) operations in China
As an initiative in the polyester market, where we expect growth to continue for many years to come, ITOCHU collaborated with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation in China (Ningbo, Zhejiang province) to establish Ningbo Mitsubishi Chemical Co., Ltd. to manufacture and sell high-grade terephthalic acid (PTA), a raw material for polyester. Production capacity at the company is 600,000 tons a year and commercial operations launched in early 2007 with sales to the domestic market in China underway.
Accounting for approximately half the world's demand for polyester, China is a huge market. By developing operations based in the world's largest market, ITOCHU is aiming to expand the trade in polyester chain products.
C.I. KASEI Becomes a Subsidiary
In April 2009, C.I. Kasei Co., Ltd, an all-round plastics processing manufacturer, became a subsidiary of ITOCHU. As background to the move, both companies had come to the conclusion that in order to integrate and share management resources and to build a powerful framework more in-depth than a business capital collaboration, which assumes an equity method affiliate in the future, making C.I. Kasei a subsidiary was the best option for increasing the corporate value of the two parties. C.I. Kasei becoming a subsidiary enhances selling power through superior integration of the production development strength and the advanced manufacturing know-how of C.I. Kasei with the domestic and overseas sales network and information capacity of ITOCHU. The aim is to boost business development by improving sales efficiencies mainly in overseas markets, and bolstering new product development.
Entering the Packaging Materials Business
In March 2008, we took an equity position of approximately 30% in Narendra Plastic Pvt. Ltd (India) (NPPL). Established in 1975, NPPL is a manufacturer of packaging materials, principally shopping bags and fashion retail bags. In addition to the domestic market in India, the company is expanding into export markets, making it the leading company in the packaging industry in India.
Participation in a business to produce cathode materials for lithium ion batteries
In March 2010, we established a joint venture to produce and market cathode materials for lithium ion batteries with Toda Kogyo Corp., a major manufacturer of cathode materials in Japan. Working together, we also set up a wholly owned subsidiary of Toda Kogyo to produce precursor materials. Construction of the new plant in the United States commenced in April 2010, and the first production line was completed in December 2010. Commercial marketing of the products will be launched after a product evaluation period. With Toda Kogyo, we also established T&I Hunan Investment Co., Ltd. in November 2010 and agreed to make a joint investment in Hunan Shanshan Advanced Material Co., Ltd., which is affiliated with Ningbo Shanshan Co., Ltd. With this agreement, we are planning to engage in the production and marketing of cathode materials. In doing so, we aim to expand our business in China, a market where rising demand for lithium ion batteries is expected, with technical support from Toda Kogyo.
In addition, we invested in SIMBOL MATERIALS, a resource development company of the United States, to secure lithium as a material for lithium ion batteries, the demand for which is expected to increase. SIMBOL MATERIALS has developed and has been promoting a business to produce lithium compound collected from geothermal brine used at a geothermal plant located in the south of California. The company is developing and refining production technologies with the aim of achieving commercial production of the lithium compound. Using the features of geothermal brine, such as the carbon dioxide gas it contains and the heat source it represents, enables not only the production of lithium component as a competitive product but also the promotion of an eco-friendly business with reduced CO2 emissions.