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Ube Maxell Form Joint Venture for Lithium-Ion Battery Separator Films


TOKYO, January 14, 2011 _ Ube Industries, Ltd. (hereafter "Ube Industries") and Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. (hereafter "Maxell") today announced that they have agreed to establish a joint venture for the manufacturing and sales of separator films for lithium-ion batteries.

The market for lithium-ion batteries is growing today, centering on applications for portable consumer devices such as mobile phones, laptop computers, and digital cameras. Meanwhile, demand is expected to grow significantly in the future, driven by industrial and automotive applications for lithium-ion batteries such as in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Separators are a key component of lithium-ion batteries. Ube Industries mass produces separators that deliver excellent shutdown properties and high heat resistance, utilizing a dry process to evenly form a multi-layer of polyethylene and polypropylene in a microporous construction.

By utilizing mixing and dispersion technology and thin-film coating technology that Maxell originally developed for magnetic tape production, the two companies have developed a way to form a coated film with inorganic fine particles on the multi-layer. The coated film demonstrates improved heat resistance and reduces heat shrinkage during abnormal heat generation, to prevent short circuits within batteries and significantly increase the safety of lithium-ion batteries. The coated film can also be engineered to give diverse performance characteristics to separators, in addition to improving heat resistance.

Ube Industries and Maxell joined forces to combine their technologies with the aim of developing separators for next-generation lithium-ion batteries that deliver improved safety among other diverse advantages. Having confirmed the excellent performance and enhanced safety of their development results, Ube Industries and Maxell have decided to form a joint venture in order to commercially capitalize on the technology. The joint venture will develop and supply mass quantities of separator products by leveraging both companies' business resources including their respective sales channels, in seeking to expand the market for lithium-ion batteries aimed at industrial applications and for use in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Statement by Shinobu Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer and Company President of Specialty Chemicals & Products Company, Ube Industries:
Ube Industries is focusing on the field of lithium-ion battery materials as one of our strategic growth segments. The main aim of the joint venture with partner Maxell, which is a leader in other fields, is to leverage our respective technologies in order to exactly deliver separator performance that our customers seek. Rising demand for lithium-ion batteries is driving fiercer competition in terms of both cost and performance. By actively pursuing alliances in addition to our own development, Ube Industries is rapidly building a position from which to develop technologies and supply products to capture demand that is starting to take off.

Statement by Yoshihiro Senzai, Representative Executive Officer and Senior Executive Managing Director, Maxell:
Maxell has developed its own mixing and dispersion technology and thin-film coating technology through basis maxell business as a manufacturer of magnetic tapes. The new joint venture combines Ube Industries' strength in separators with our technology to improve the heat resistance of separators without sacrificing basic performance. These advances will improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries amid a rapidly growing market. Looking forward, we will continue to develop solutions that extend the life of batteries and make them even safer.

Data for New Joint Venture
Business Name : UBE MAXELL, CO., LTD.
Address : 1, Koizumi, Oyamazaki-cho, Otokuni-gun, Kyoto Prefecture
President and Representative Director : Keiichi Nagata (presently General Manager of Specialty Products Business Unit II, Specialty Chemicals & Products Company, Ube Industries, Ltd.)
To Be Established : February 1, 2011 (plan)
Capital Stock : JPN YEN 150 million
Shareholders : Ube Industries, Ltd. (51%)
Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. (49%)
Business Description : Manufacturing and sales of separator films for lithium-ion batteries


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