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Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) has agreed to make equity participation in Forward Engineering GmbH ("FE"), a leading German design and engineering company specializing in automotive lightweight structures made from carbon fiber and other composite materials*. Mitsui and FE have also entered into a business alliance agreement.
Mitsui will use its global network and business activities to promote FE's automotive lightweight design and engineering services. It also aims to expand its presence in the automotive carbon fiber market by leveraging FE's advanced knowledge and experiences relating to automotive parts made from composite materials.
Climate change has become an urgent global issue. The reduction of energy consumption through the development of lighter transportation equipment, especially motor vehicles, is seen as important way of combating this problem, and the market for parts made from carbon fiber and other lightweight materials is expected to expand rapidly. FE has an extensive track record in design and engineering activities relating to autobody and parts made from composite materials, since the time it was part of Roding Automobile GmbH, to reduce the weight of mass-produced vehicles.
Mitsui is expanding its global business relating to carbon fiber materials. For example, in April 2015, it entered into a cooperation agreement concerning composite materials and an equipment lease agreement with the Innovative Composite Center of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology. Under those agreements, Mitsui has commenced joint development of new manufacturing methods for automotive parts and other products using carbon fiber composite materials. In March 2016, Mitsui acquired a stake in Hexagon Composites ASA, a Norwegian manufacturer of carbon fiber reinforced high-pressure cylinders, and Hankuk Carbon Co., Ltd., a South Korean carbon fiber composite product manufacturer.
Mitsui and FE, through this equity partnership, will respond to the need for vehicle light weighting by globally expanding design and engineering services for autobody and parts made from carbon fiber and other composite materials. Both companies will also help to accelerate the expansion of the automotive carbon fiber market, and to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
* Composite materials: 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).
|Company name||Forward Engineering GmbH|
|Address||Munich, Bavaria, Germany|
|Established||March 2016 (spun off from Roding Automobile GmbH)|
|Representatives||Robert Maier, Georg Käsmeier|
|Business activities||Automotive lightweight design and engineering services|
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