Toray acquires U.S. carbon fiber manufacturer

Toray Industries Inc. (Tokyo) has agreed to buy U.S. large-tow carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek Companies Inc. (St. Louis, MO) for $584 million. Large-tow carbon fiber is comprised of 40,000 or more filaments and typically finds application in wind turbine blades and reinforced plastic compounds. Previously, Toray was only active in regular-tow carbon fiber with the 24,000 or fewer filaments used for high-end applications such as aircraft.

Global demand for PAN-based carbon fibers is expected to expand at an annual growth rate exceeding 15% as manufacturers deploy the material as a means of weight reduction and in green energy applications. Regular-tow carbon fiber will continue to play a key role in aerospace applications, while lower-cost, large-tow carbon fiber is expected to make inroads into the wind-power and automobile structural-part fields....

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