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As of January 14, 2022, Covestro is now the sole owner of Japan Fine Coatings Co, Ltd, previously managed as a joint venture with JSR Corporation.
JFC is one of the leading suppliers of optical fiber coatings based in Tsukuba, Japan. Covestro previously held 70% and JSR 30% of the JV shares. With a purchase price in the mid-single-digit million euro range, Covestro has now purchased JSR’s 30% stake to become the company’s sole owner.
With the transaction, Covestro further strengthens its position in the attractive field for fiber optical coatings. "The Covestro Coatings & Adhesives business already has an outstanding position in the field of fiber optical coatings. By fully purchasing JFC, we can now develop the business independently," explains Thorsten Dreier, Head of the business entity Coatings & Adhesives at Covestro. "The market segment has tremendous growth potential, especially due to the roll-out of future 5G technology."
JFC’s UV-curable coatings for optical fiber materials are mainly used in the telecommunications industry. Today’s strong demand for connectivity is creating a surge in bandwith demand for fixed and mobile network opertations. High-performance fiber optical cables are needed here to enable the reliable transmission of high data rates. In addition, the increasing roll-out of 5G technology is driving demand. Cell towers are being connected to the network via fiber optic cables to fully exploit the capabilities of the new mobile communications standard.
"Japan plays an important role in the global fiberglass market. We appreciate JSR’s long-term support in establishing JFC’s presence. In combination with Covestro’s global network, we are using this strong base for future growth potential," explains Kimiyasu Yonemaru, President of Covestro Japan. "This also underlines Covestro’s clear commitment to the Japanese market."
In April 2021, Covestro had already taken over 70% of the shares in JFC as part of the acquisition of DSM’s Resins & Functional Materials business. Overall the JV has already been prepared for operational independence for several years, as JSR had already shifted its focus on its other strategic business areas. At JFC’s business sites, both production in Tsukuba as well as research and development activities in Kanagawa will continue unchanged. In total, JFC employs around 65 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).