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SDK to Expand 30/32-Inch Graphite Electrode Capacity

Showa Denko K.K.
April 19, 2007

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) will soon complete the expansion of its production capacity of 30-inch- and 32-inch-diameter graphite electrodes, from around 15,000 tons/year, to 25,000 tons/year. This will be realized with the scheduled completion in July of a new graphitizing furnace at SDK’s Omachi Plant, Japan, and the start-up in the third quarter of expanded facilities at Showa Denko Carbon, Inc., SDK’s subsidiary in South Carolina, U.S.A.

The expansion is in response to growing demand from electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmakers. EAF steel production is expected to continue to grow, reflecting the rise in world population and increased supply of scrap iron from growing new economies in Brazil, Russia, India and China. Furthermore, EAF steelmakers around the world are introducing larger furnaces to increase productivity, resulting in greater demand for large-diameter graphite electrodes.

The graphite electrodes are produced by forming, baking, and graphitizing raw material coke. To produce large-diameter graphite electrodes, it is essential that the materials are heated uniformly throughout the baking and graphitizing processes. With a strict quality control system and high process technology, SDK has already secured the leading share of around 40% of the world’s large-diameter graphite electrode market. SDK is investing approximately ¥1 billion in the ongoing expansion work, centering on the installation of the new graphitizing furnace at Omachi.

Under the new medium-term consolidated business plan, the Passion Project, which started last year, SDK is accelerating its growth strategy while strengthening the competitiveness of base businesses. As part of the plan, SDK will continue to strengthen the competitiveness of the graphite electrode business by substantially cutting costs and shifting to the production of high-value, large-diameter electrodes.

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IR & PR Office (Phone: 81-3-5470-3235)