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Mitsubishi acquires CFRP manufacturer
Friday, 15 August 2014

Car manufacturer Mitsubishi Rayon has agreed to purchase part of Wethje Holding, a German company which manufactures carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP), in a move to keep up with its industry competitors.

The deal, completed this week, is a bid to strengthen and expand carbon fibre intermediate materials for automobiles in Europe, with Mitsubishi acquiring 51 per cent of Wethje in a US$29 million deal. Further, the company hopes to conform to the increasing use of CFRP technology in the industry.

Major competitor BMW, also in partnership with Wethje, recently launched its i3 electric vehicle, which uses CFRP parts for the structure of the vehicle. Now, Mitsubishi will use its shares in Wethje to develop and produce CFRP parts and help strengthen its carbon fibre supply chain.

Wethje also provides carbon fibre parts to other luxury manufacturers including Porsche. With annual sales hitting around $49 million, its deal with Mitsubishi could see this figure doubling in the future.

By 2020, the global market for automotive carbon fibre is expected to rise from 4,000 tons per year, to around 20,000 tons. The European industry is said to account for around 70 per cent of the market.

Following the acquirement, Mitsubishi plan to appoint executives at Wethje, but will maintain Wethje?s name and management system.