Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 362, November 1999

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American Companies in Japan


At a cost of $30 million, CORNING INC. is installing a second specialized kiln at its active-matrix liquid crystal display glass substrate factory in Osuga, Shizuoka prefecture. The announcement by the world's big-gest supplier of glass substrates to the booming flat-panel display industry follows by just months the start of a smaller expansion at the plant (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 357, June 1999, p. 31). The capacity that is being added in Japan is one key to Corning's plan to double its worldwide capacity for AMLCD glass substrates by the end of 2000. The new capacity in both Japan and South Korea will start to come on-line in January 2000. Corning also announced that it would use the expansion to commercialize a glass substrate that is lighter as well as more rigid than today's products. Those characteristics, the company noted, will help display manufacturers fabricate larger screens for desktop monitors and television sets.

ENTEGRIS, INC., which provides critical materials management solutions to the semiconductor, data storage, pharmaceutical and chemicals industries, has signed a licensing agreement with CDK CORP. Under it, the leading Japanese maker of valves for fluid management can incorporate the Chaska, Minnesota firm's Flaretek fitting connections into its perfluoroalkoxy fluid management products. In this way, Entegris gains entry into Japan's wet-processing equipment market.

SUMITOMO 3M LTD. estimates that its new Scrape Mat 9000 for commercial and industrial settings will develop into a $2.8 million annual business. The floor mat contains no polyvinyl chloride and, thus, will not produce dioxins when burned. Equally important, Sumitomo 3M says, its product is better at collecting dirt than the competition's while also being more durable and lighter. A Scrape Mat 9000 that measures roughly 3 feet wide by 20 feet long costs $1,700.

With input from the international economic consulting firm of NATIONAL ECONOMIC RESEARCH ASSOCIATES, INC., a JGC CORP. consulting company that specializes in energy and environmental matters plans to expand its business. The deregulation going on in Japan's electricity market and the movement toward tighter environmental controls provided the impetus for JAPAN NUS CO., LTD.'s tie-up with White Plains, New York-based NERA. Together, the two companies will be able to advise government and industry on the economic and financial impacts of changes in the energy and environmental areas.

By June 2001, PROCTER & GAMBLE CO. will shutter its factory in Haga, Tochigi prefecture. Since 1990, the plant has made Whisper and other brands of sanitary napkins for sale in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. Production equipment will be moved to the P&G plant in Akashi, Hyogo prefecture in an attempt to improve efficiency and allow the company to respond better to the pricing pressures in the sanitary napkin business. The Haga facility's 150 employees will be relo-cated to other P&G operations in Japan. The consumer products giant has not decided what it will do with the plant and the site. Selling them is an option, however.

SHISEIDO CO., LTD. has not been shy about using acquisitions to build up its hair-care products operations in the United States, particularly for the salon part of the business. Now, it is doing the same thing in Japan. At a cost of roughly $4.7 million, Shiseido acquired trademark and manufacturing rights to nine hair-care product brands from BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO., including the DeAGE line of professional coloring products. Sales of the brands in Japan amounted to $10.4 million in 1998. They also are sold in some other parts of Asia.

An exchange rate of ¥106=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa

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