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Lenzing - expansion into carbon fiber production

Mar '07
The Lenzing Group expands into the production of carbon fibers. Lenzing Plastics GmbH, a subsidiary of Lenzing AG, and its German partner companies, SGL Carbon AG in Wiesbaden und Kelheim Fibres GmbH in Kelheim, concluded a joint venture, European Precursor GmbH, which is to produce primary materials for carbon fibers at the Kelheim site. The venture is pending the approval of the cartel offices.

Another joint venture with the Lenzing Group for the production of carbon fibers, yet to be concluded, is being planned. "Expanding into the new business field of carbon fibers opens additional and attractive growth potential for our business unit Plastics" is the reason given by Thomas Fahnemann, chairman of the Lenzing management board, for this strategic decision.

The high strength of carbon fibers (four times higher than that of the best steel alloys) makes them the promising construction material of the future. The use of carbon fiber in the aviation, automotive and shipping industries will rapidly increase in the future. Market analyses expect annual growth rates of about 10% for the coming years.

The new generation of airplanes, such as Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 is an important example. The carbon fiber demand of the wind power industry for their new rotor blades spanning almost 200 feet is high as well. Carbon fibers are also used in sports, such as for golf clubs, hockey sticks, tennis rackets, as well as for kayaks and bicycles.

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