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Asahi Glass, Sumitomo Corp plan soda ash sales joint venture

Asahi Glass Company, Ltd. and trading firm Sumitomo Corp. plan to take equal shares in a soda ash sales joint venture in March 2004, the companies announced on 16 December 2003. The new company, Soda …

Asahi Glass Company, Ltd. and trading firm Sumitomo Corp. plan to take equal shares in a soda ash sales joint venture in March 2004, the companies announced on 16 December 2003. The new company, Soda Ash Japan Co., would start sales from April 2004. The JV is expected to have sales of JPY 5 billion (USD 46 million) in the first fiscal year of operation (1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004). Soda Ash Japan would dominate Japan“s domestic soda ash market with a share of 30%. Asahi and Sumitomo decided to establish the JV because of declining sales and falling profits in the soda ash market. Japan“s domestic demand for the product has gone down from 1.4 million metric tonnes in 1979 to only 930,000 metric tonnes in 2002. Asahi Glass is mainly a glass producer but also has a 200,000 metric tonnes/year VCM (vinyl chloride monomer) plant in Chiba, near Tokyo, and through a subsidiary in Indonesia has a 400,000 metric tonnes/year VCM unit and a 285,000 metric tonnes/year PVC plant.

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