TOKYO--()--Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd. ("KBMJ"), Kureha's subsidiary handling materials for lithium-ion batteries ("LiBs"), today announces that Kureha Corporation ("Kureha"), ITOCHU Corporation ("Itochu"), Kuraray Co., Ltd. ("Kuraray") and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan ("INCJ") have concluded an agreement intended to further accelerate the growth of KBMJ. Under the agreement between Kureha and Itochu, Kuraray and the INCJ (the “Strategic Partners”), Kuraray and the INCJ will newly acquire equity stakes in KBMJ through participation in a third-party allocation, with the four companies together investing up to ¥20.0 billion in KBMJ.
“Lithium-ion batteries are a core component in addressing energy and environmental challenges, and this is an exciting time in our industry. We see substantial opportunity and are pleased for the additional support, as we continue to expand our business and make our technologies available to more business partners worldwide.”
The partnership aims to support KBMJ's global expansion, with a focus on its unique, industry leading CARBOTRON P battery materials technology for LiBs, which are essential to hybrid and electric vehicles, among other technologies. The inclusion of the INCJ, which is tasked with nurturing next-generation industries through the promotion of open innovation in Japan, further highlights the nature and potential of KBMJ's industry-leading solutions.
President & Chief Executive Officer at KBMJ, Hideo Nakatani said, "Lithium-ion batteries are a core component in addressing energy and environmental challenges, and this is an exciting time in our industry. We see substantial opportunity and are pleased for the additional support, as we continue to expand our business and make our technologies available to more business partners worldwide."
KBMJ was jointly established by Kureha and Itochu for the manufacture and sale of CARBOTRON P, a hard carbon anode material for LiBs, and for the sale of LiB binders. The company commenced business operations on October 1, 2011. In December 2011, Kuraray agreed with KBMJ to jointly commercialize Biocarbotron, a hard carbon anode material for LiBs derived from plant material. In this process, Kureha and Itochu set to draw on each other's strengths to support KBMJ as a key player in the rapidly growing field of LiBs material.
CARBOTRON P was used in the world's first commercially available LiB in 1991 and, as large-format batteries have evolved for use in electric cars and require far higher standards, has seen increased demand due to its performance and reliability. The increased emphasis on durability in such applications and the need to withstand repeated recharging have seen CARBOTRON P recognized for its highly stable properties and superb charge/discharge performance.
KBMJ plans to finance approximately ¥14.5 billion over the next two years by issuing ordinary shares to Itochu, Kuraray and the INCJ through a third-party allocation, as well as non-voting preferred shares to the INCJ. It has also been agreed that Kureha will underwrite up to approximately ¥5.5 billion in ordinary shares in KBMJ. This will provide KBMJ with a combined capital financing of up to approximately ¥20.0 billion. KBMJ will allocate those funds to establish a larger global supply structure for LiBs materials, namely CARBOTRON P and Biocarbotron.
Note to Editors
About Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd:
Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd (KBMJ) was established in April 2011 through joint investment from Kureha Corporation (70%) and ITOCHU Corporation (30%), and began operations in October 2011.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, KBMJ is principally engaged in the production and sales of active anode materials for Lithium-ion secondary batteries (LiB), and sales of binders and gel polymer for Lithium-ion batteries and activated carbon for Electric Double-Layer Capacitors (EDLC). President & Chief Executive Officer is Hideo Nakatani, who is also Senior Vice President of Kureha.
About The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) Co., Ltd:
The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) was established by law in 2009. It aims to foster the next generation of businesses through a process known as "open innovation", meaning encouraging technology and expertise to flow beyond the boundaries imposed by existing organizational structures. It has the capacity to invest a total of ¥2 trillion and its mission is to support industrial renewal in Japan by investing in highly innovative businesses.
The INCJ is run by staff with a diverse range of experience in investment, technology and management. Investments are thoroughly vetted by the INCJ's Innovation Network Committee to ensure they meet the standards laid out by law and established by the government
The INCJ has to date invested ¥400bn in a total of 27 projects. It conducts "hands-on" investment, developing businesses with advanced underlying technologies through its intellectual property fund, expanding the business activities of venture companies, reorganizing and consolidating businesses with core technology strengths, and encouraging overseas expansion through international acquisitions in such areas as environmental and energy-related electronics and IT, biotechnology and life sciences, and in infrastructure, for example water supply.
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