Kureha discontinues PVDF facility expansion in China

Kureha discontinues PVDF facility expansion in China

Withdraws from heat shrink multilayer film business

  • By ICN Bureau | March 28, 2024

Kureha Corporation announced its decision to discontinue a capacity expansion project for polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) at its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kureha Changshu Fluoropolymer Co. Ltd. in China. The expansion project was originally made public on July 20, 2021.

In addition, Kureha announced it will withdraw from the heat shrink multilayer film business, a part of its food packaging line which the company operates primarily in Europe and Australia. Details are as follows. Kureha PVDF is used as a binder material for lithium-ion secondary batteries (LiBs) and also as an engineering plastic in various industrial applications.

In July 2021, Kureha announced its plan to address growing demand for PVDF binder in the automotive LiB market, propelled by robust electric vehicle sales amid heightened environmental awareness, and expand PVDF production at the China Changshu facility.

However, this capacity expansion project has been delayed due to changes in China's environment policy, and Furthermore, the business environment surrounding LiBs has changed following the enactment of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. Under these circumstances, Kureha decided in August 2023 to move ahead with the capacity expansion for PVDF at its Japan Iwaki Factory.

The company now expect this enhanced capacity in Japan will be sufficient to meet the immediate increase in demand. Given this outlook and foreseeable difficulties in China-to-US exports under the new U.S. law, Kureha has therefore determined to discontinue the facility expansion in China. Meanwhile, Kureha will continue PVDF manufacturing operations at the China Changshu facilities for customers mainly in China and Europe.

The company is also working to develop differentiated binder grades suitable for iron phosphate (LFP) LiBs, a major type of LiB used in China, and is planning over a medium to long term to expand share in the China market, suggesting that there are possibilities for reinvestment in the country if business conditions change. Kureha will continue to closely monitor market trends, maintain optimal production operations, and steadily expand the PVDF business. Details of the China facility expansion to be discontinued.

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