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

No. 347, August 1998

Issue Index

Japanese Companies in the US


NIPPON VALQUA INDUSTRIES, LTD., Japan's largest manufacturer of industrial packings and an up-and-comer in the area of fluoroplastic products for high technology industries, has formed a wholly owned marketing subsidiary in Larchmont, New York. VALQUA AMERICA, INC. also oversees the company's U.S. manufacturing operation, a joint venture with FLUOROWARE, INC. of Chaska, Minnesota that makes tanks for storing the acids used in etching semiconductor circuits (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 336, September 1997, p. 9). The new subsidiary reportedly is studying the feasibility of setting up another American business to produce fluoroplastic products for the semiconductor industry. A decision will be made by next year.

Its latest acquisition has elevated ZOTOS INTERNATIONAL, INC. of Darien, Connecticut to the ranks of the five biggest U.S. companies in the professional hair-care products business. The SHISEIDO CO., LTD. subsidiary bought the professional salon products division of Mill Valley, California-based LAMAUR CORP. for about $11 million. The division had net sales in 1997 of $17.4 million. The deal includes the group's sales rights, trademarks, patents, inventories and other assets for such brands as Apple Pectin, Vita-E, Nucleic-A and Pativa. Using its existing infrastructure, Zotos has assumed responsibility for production, distribution, sales and marketing of these salon products. In November 1996, Zotos bought the sales rights, patents and inventories of HELENE CURTIS INC.'s professional salon division.

TSUMURA & CO. hopes to grow in part by expanding its virtually nonexistent exports to the United States. The Tokyo company is Japan's biggest producer of Kampo (Chinese medicines). It also makes toiletries. Tsumura has opened offices in New York and Los Angeles to handle marketing. The products will be sold under Tsumura's brand names. The manufacturer still is trying to sell its Secaucus, New Jersey TSUMURA INTERNATIONAL INC. subsidiary, which manufactures bath products, fragrances and toiletries in Shakopee, Minnesota (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, pp. 9-10).

Going where it believes the money is in the U.S. security services market, SECOM CO., LTD. sold the residential security services part of its WESTEC SECURITY, INC. subsidiary to a competitor so that the Newport Beach, California-headquartered company could concentrate on the more profitable commercial services part of the business. Westec provided home security services in California and 15 other states. It had roughly 100,000 customers as of last March. The sale price was in the $300 million range. Secom controls 60 percent or so of Japan's security services market.

This fall, DENTSU INC. will gain the distinction of being a part owner of a Major League Soccer team as well as the world's largest advertising agency. It will buy a 50 percent interest in California's San Jose Clash professional soccer team. The move is tied to the 2002 World Cup finals, which Japan and South Korea will cohost. Dentsu is an official marketing partner for those events.

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

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