Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
Sales: $222 Million
Description: Key Personnel
Mitsuo Kanno, president; Minoru Tanaka, managing director; Yoshiaki Mizutani, director; Kasuo Hamada, managing director
Shiga, Tokyo, Japan
Resin bonded, needlepunched, thermal bonded, wetlaid, spunlaced, meltblown tackspun
Apparel interlinings, apparel insulations, air filters, plaster bases, automotive mats, automotive headliners, battery electrode separators
Japan Vilene’s total sales decreased 14.9% during the year ended March 2009. In terms of departmental sales, apparel and medical materials decreased 7.9% to ¥10.5 billion; automotives decreased 18.8% to ¥21.6 billion, air filter materials decreased 6.7% to ¥8 billion, industrial materials decreased 18.3% to ¥8.7 billion and the remaining sales decreased 20.7% to ¥1.4 billion. Sales decreased in all areas due to the global economic crisis which began in September 2008.
By region, sales within Japan decreased 12.9% to ¥37.9 billion; North America decreased 20.6% to ¥12.2 billion and Asia sales (beyond Japan) decreased 17% to ¥0.1 billion.
Sales of automotive floor mats in Japan dropped significantly in 2008 on the heels of decreased automobile sales. Also in Japan, demand for floor mat and headliners regressed greatly because of the sudden decrease of automotive output. Owing to these accounts, demand is sluggish in many of the applications for automotives and recovery will not be likely in 2009. Under these circumstances, Japan Vilene estimated that sales this year will decrease 8.4% and as such automotives material sales will decrease 16.7% to ¥18 billion.
Despite the economic slump, Japan Vilene is seeing some bright spots including the nonwovens separators in the nickelmetal hydrogen battery used for the hybrid car applications. Demand for these batteries is growing as the hybrid automobile industry grows. However, because the nickel metal hydride batteries might be replaced by lithium ion batteries in hybrid cards, it is uncertain how long this demand will grow. Generally, microporous films are used as separators in lithium ion batteries and the nonwovens have not been used here at all. Still, Japan Vilene is pushing forward with the development of a nonwoven separator, which could be applied to the lithium ion battery.
Regarding the demand of covering masks, the business is favorable due to the prevention of swine flu; however, this demand is expected to slow as efforts to stop the spread of this disease wane.