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Mitsui to Participate in South Korean Composites Manufacturer

Mar. 3, 2016


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Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) and Hankuk Carbon Co., Ltd. ("HC"), a company listed on the Korea Exchange, entered into a strategic alliance agreement to engage in collaborative business activities relating to the processing of composite materials*. Based on this agreement, Mitsui will acquire a 10% equity stake in HC (on a voting rights basis) for an investment of KRW 30.6 billion (approximately ¥2.8 billion JPY).

Action to tackle global warming has become an urgent international priority. The development of lighter parts and materials to reduce energy consumption by transportation equipment, especially in motor vehicles, is seen as an important approach to the solution of this problem, and the market for lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, is expected to expand rapidly. However, use of these materials has so far been limited by high manufacturing costs, and wider use will require the development of cost-competitive materials and parts.

HC, established in 1984, has developed and expanded its unique capabilities to manufacture a variety of composite products. It plans to accelerate the development of its composite materials by targeting aerospace, automotive and other transportation equipment fields for which high growth is projected in the future.

Mitsui strives to develop business initiatives in the seven key strategic domains defined in its New Medium-term Management Plan. This investment spans two of those key strategic domains: "mineral resources and materials", and "mobility". In April 2015, Mitsui signed an agreement concerning cooperation on composite materials research and an equipment lease agreement with the Innovative Composite Materials Research and Development Center ("ICC") of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology. Mitsui and ICC have since commenced collaborative development of new manufacturing methods for automotive parts and other products made of carbon fiber composite materials. On February 27, 2016, Mitsui entered into an agreement to acquire a 25% stake in Hexagon Composites ASA, a Norwegian manufacturer of composite pressure vessels.

Mitsui and HC have built a strong partnership based on a business relationship spanning almost 30 years. Under the new capital alliance, the two companies will respond to the need for lighter transportation equipment by building and strengthening a manufacturing supply chain for materials and parts made of carbon fiber and other composites.

* Composite material: A material made from two or more individual materials. It consists of reinforcing materials supported by a matrix. Composites reinforced with carbon fibers are known as carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs).

Profile of HC

Company name Hankuk Carbon Co., Ltd.
Address Miryang City, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, Republic of Korea
Establishment September 1984
Representative Representative Director Moon Soo Cho
Employees Approx. 460
Net sales 242.5 billion won (approx. ¥25 billion) in the year ended December 2015
Shareholders Moon Soo Cho: 19.2%
Activities Manufacture and sale of carbon fiber prepreg and other composites

Main Business Areas

Main Business Areas

Notice:
This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Mitsui's current assumptions, expectations and beliefs in light of the information currently possessed by it and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause Mitsui's actual results, financial position or cash flows to be materially different from any future results, financial position or cash flows expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to above include, but are not limited to, those contained in Mitsui's latest Annual Securities Report and Quarterly Securities Report, and Mitsui undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
This announcement is published in order to publicly announce specific facts stated above, and does not constitute a solicitation of investments or any similar act inside or outside of Japan, regarding the shares, bonds or other securities issued by us.

Information

For inquiries on this matter, please contact

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Corporate Communications Division
Keitaro Kida
Telephone: +81-3-3285-6645
Facsimile: +81-3-3285-9819