2014 Nonwovens Sales: $159 million
Toshio Yoshida, president; Masahiro Kimura, managing director; Tomo Kawamura, managing director; Yasuhiro Kawasaki, director
Resin bonded, needlepunched, thermal bonded, wetlaid, spunlaced, meltblown, tackspun
Apparel interlinings, apparel insulations, air filters, plaster bases, automotive mats, automotive headliners and battery electrode separators
For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015, Japan Vilene Group’s net sales were ¥56.5 billion ($456 million), a 3.5% increase compared to the previous fiscal year, while nonwovens sales were reported at ¥19.7 billion ($159 million). In the apparel and medical materials segment, sales rose to ¥10 billion ($80.7 million), a 1.1% increase compared to the previous fiscal year. According to the company, sales of interlinings declined from the previous year largely due to low sales of men’s and women’s wear. Sales of cold compress-based materials decreased from the previous year due to weak sales of domestics, though overseas sales were strong and new products boosted sales of plaster-based materials. The sale of face masks increased from the previous year due to strong sales of decontamination use while demand in coolin gel sheets and cosmetic face masks boosted medical cosmetic materials sales.
Sales for air filter materials were ¥8.1 billion ($65.4 million), up 5.2%. While sales of filters for general use decreased from the previous year, sales of medium and high efficiency filters increased from the previous year. Sales of cabin air filters for automobiles decreased largely from the previous year due to moving the production site overseas and because of sales decreasing both in Japan and overseas. Total sales of the air filtration sector increased mainly due to the August 2013 acquisition of Oshitari Laboratory, Inc.
Sales of Japan Vilene’s electricity and industrial material sales dropped 12.9% to were ¥8.7 billion, and sales of battery separators for hybrid vehicles decreased largely from the previous year due to low sales of hybrid vehicles in North America. Sales of Nickel hydride separators for general-use decreased from the previous year due to weak demand for batteries, while lower demand for electrical tools brought sales of Nicad battery separators down. Other areas facing decreases included photocopier cleaning rolls, liquid filters and printed circuit boards.
Automotive materials sales were ¥28.9 billion ($233.2 million), up 10%. Sales of floor mats in North America increased from the previous year thanks to the favorable sales of cars, success of the new Mexican factory and exchange rate movement. Sales of floor mats in Japan decreased from the previous year because sales of new cars declined after last-minute demand, but they grew in Asia thanks to Chinese strength. Sales of headliner materials in North America increased from the previous year due to increasing automobile production and exchange rate movement. Domestic sales exceeded the previous year due to good sales of new orders and export cars.
In August, Freudenberg SE and Toray Industries announced they would acquire all shares of Japan Vilene through FT Holdings K.K., with Freudenberg and Toray will own 75% and 25% of the common shares of the company, respectively. Currently, Freudenberg owns 33.4% of Japan Vilene (17.6 billion)—being the largest shareholder of the company—and Toray owns 17.49% (9.2 billion shares)—the second largest shareholder.
Once the acquisition is final, Freudenberg and Toray will enter into a shareholders’ agreement with respect to the operation of Japan Vilene, which will require Freudenberg to obtain Toray’s prior consent when making decisions on certain material matters of the company. Additionally, transfer of the shares of Japan Vilene requires consent of the other party, and each party has the preemptive right in proportion to its shareholding ratio when the company issues new shares.