AKXY Acquired Sage Automotive

Asahi Kasei had sales of 15.8 billion Euro in 2017 across its three divisions – Materials, Homes and Healthcare – and employed 34,670 people globally at the end of March 2018.

Asahi Kasei Europe was created in 2016, with a key aim of getting closer to local OEMs and the company now plans to triple its sales to the automotive sector, from 1 billion Euro in 2017 to 3 billion Euro in 2025.

Hideki Tsutsumi, managing director of Asahi Kasei Europe said this would be achieved via a combination of strategic expansions and acquisitions, production capacity increases, focused marketing activities to position the company as a one-stop shop solution provider, and the introduction of new products and technologies.

The company is already the world leader in wet and dry process lithium-ion battery separators, in addition to S-SBR synthetic rubber for fuel efficient tyres, and at the end of July this year acquired Sage Automotive – the global leader in seating fabrics worldwide.

Asahi Kasei’s president of performance polymers Hiroshima Yoshida said, “It will strengthen our fibres business, but beyond this, Sage’s management team had very strong relationships with the OEMs to the extent that they are even influential in proposing designs for new car models and it is this strong relation- ship and know-how we see as extremely valuable.”

Separators

Expansion in the field began with the acquisition of Polypore in 2015, with which Asahi Kasei became the world leading manufacturer and supplier of li-ion battery separators.

In January this year Asahi Kasei announced li-ion battery separator expansions in both Japan and the USA which will see its annual capacity increase to 1.1 billion square metres annually. At the same time, the company announced an expansion of its Leona polyamide 6.6 filaments for airbags to an annual capacity of 38,000 tons annually.

Fibre innovations

The seating and interior of the vehicle features Lamous artificial leather, the close rival to Alcantara that is marketed in Europe as Dinamica by the Italian company Miko. Miko has operated as a division of Sage Automotive using an Asahi Kasei-developed process and with its fibres supplied from Japan up to now.