Asahi Kasei forecasts increased sales driven by lithium-ion battery separators for EVs

by John Shepherd
Asahi president, Hideki Kobori, said earlier this year that investment in its separators' business was part of the company's sustainable growth initiative. Photo: Asahi Kasei
Asahi Kasei has forecast increased sales for its wet-process lithium-ion battery (LIB) separators, with demand for electric vehicle batteries driving growth.

The forecast came as the company posted overall net sales of JPY 583.4bn (£3.9bn) for the first quarter of 2021 (ended last June) – an increase of 28.2% over the corresponding period last year.

Operating income was JPY 60.5bn (almost double the year-ago period) and net income attributable to owners of the parent company amounted to JPY 46.4bn (up JPY 32.8bn year-on-year).

Asahi said the revised forecast for the first half of 2021 is net sales of around JPY 1.2tn and operating income of JPY 106bn – both of which are higher than the "pre-Covid” period of 2019 and the "highest ever” first-half results.

'Strong demand'

Eiji Ishikawa, of the group’s speciality solutions strategic business unit, said the "main driver” behind its revised forecast for net sales and operating income was its Hipore wet-process separators for LIBs.

"As far as automotive applications are concerned, demand is expected to be very strong, including in Europe.”

World Battery News reported earlier this year that Asahi was investing to ramp up production capacity for its wet-process LIB separators, in response to "rapid growth” of the batteries market amid increasing demand for EVs.

The company said it would invest JPY 30bn for a production increase of about 350 million sqm at its existing facility in the city of Hyuga, in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture – with start-up of the expansion scheduled for the first half of fiscal 2023.

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