Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 347, August 1998

Issue Index

Japanese Companies in the US


For $35.5 million, NISSHO IWAI CORP. acquired a 25 percent interest in STRATEGIC MINERALS CORP., one of the world's largest vanadium producers. In conjunction with their new relationship, the trader will assume responsibility for the distribution of Stratcor vanadium products to customers outside North America. A primary use for vanadium is to harden steel alloys. Headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut, Strategic Minerals operates a vanadium mine in South Africa and runs plants in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Niagara Falls, New York that recover the metal from petroleum-based waste materials and other feedstocks. It produces ferrovanadium, Nitrovan vanadium and specialty vanadium alloys as well as vanadium chemicals used by the steel, titanium and chemicals industries.

PureGold, a very high-purity microalloyed gold developed and manufactured by THREE-O CO., LTD. of Kanagawa prefecture, is available to jewelry designers through a sales representative in El Sobrante, California that has the same name as the product. PureGold meets the hallmarking requirements for 24K gold, yet it has the hardness and the
durability associated with 18K gold. It also is said to be easy to process and to maintain the fine finish characteristic of 24K gold products. Three- O is projecting sales of 2,100 pounds of PureGold in the United States in the first year of marketing for revenues of $9.9 million.

By 2000, HITACHI METALS, LTD. plans to spend a total of $70.9 million in the United States and Japan to expand output of rare-earth magnets. The company's 25-year-old permanent magnet production subsidiary, Edmore, Michigan-based HITACHI MAGNETICS CORP., will increase rare-earth magnet capacity to 30 tons a year. The expansion not only is keyed to the rising demand for rare-earth magnets in such diverse applications as hard disk drives and automotive steering mechanisms but designed as well to put Hitachi Metals on a more equal footing with the Japanese leader in the permanent magnet business, SUMITOMO SPECIAL METALS CO., LTD.

RYOBI LTD. has earmarked $109.9 million to boost output of die castings used in the automotive industry at its plants in the United States and in England. RYOBI DIE CASTING (USA), INC. of Shelbyville, Indiana will expand its factory floor space by nearly half and add 20 large die-casting machines to the 16 it currently has by 2000 in order to meet strong demand from FORD MOTOR CO. in particular but also from GENERAL MOTORS CORP. for die-cast aluminum transmission housings. With the expansion, the U.S. company anticipates 2000 sales of $163.1 million versus revenues of $99.3 million in 1997.

An exchange rate of ¥141=$1.00 was used in this report.

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