Mitsui Chemicals

Mitsui has New Acrylamide Joint Venture in Korea
Latest Biotech Process to Help Strengthen the Venture

August 10, 2000

Japan's leading chemical manufacturer Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (MCI) has established a new acrylamide joint venture in Korea together with a local industrial conglomerate Yongsan Group, MCI announced today. The intention behind MCI's latest move is in the strengthening of its acrylamide business in Korea by positioning the new JV as the acrylamide production and sales strongpoint in East Asia, the company said.

Named "Yongsan Mitsui Chemicals, Inc." (YMC), the joint venture created on July 25 is equally owned by the two parent companies. The JV will initially engage in the sale of acrylamide produced by MCI's existing Korean joint venture with Yongsan Group, Yongsan Chemicals, Inc. (YCI), in which MCI has a 37% interest and Tomen, a Japanese trading group Tomen Corporation, holds 13%.

In parallel with its commercial activities based on acryalmide supply from YCI, YMC will construct a new plant of 5,000 tons per year capacity in Ulsan by December 2001.

The plant will use MCI's latest epoch-making technology, a largely simplified and environmentally friendly process using a high-performance enzyme catalyst based on genetic engineering. Demonstrating much higher activity than conventional biotech processes, the new technology permits direct production of high-quality acrylamide at high concentrations (50%) more simply and safely, with much less process effluents and wastes being generated.

The plan to build the new plant at YMC is being driven not only by the current short supply position of YCI but also MCI's intention to aggressively leverage the new technology for expansion of acrylamide business in the Asian region.

Under such a scheme, MCI intends to transfer YCI's acrylamide business into YMC by 2003 and to concentrate its technology, people and marketing knowhow in YMC, so that the entire acrylamide business in Korea could be operated integrally through YMC under MCI's leadership.

Having principal applications such as paper-strengthening agents and flocculants as well as oil recovery agents, acrylamide is undergoing stable growth in advanced countries as well as in Asia more recently, in step with the rising need for resources and environmental conservation associated with such activities as paper recycling and wastewater treatment.

Positioning acrylamide as one of its core businesses, MCI is currently serving as Asia's largest acrylamide supplier producing a total of 50,000 tons per year in Japan (in Osaka and Mobara), Korea (YCI) and Indonesia (P.T. Mitsui Eterindo Chemicals).