TOKYO, Oct 9 (Reuters) Japan's Toray Industries Inc said on Tuesday it plans to spend about 20 billion yen (0 million) to boost production of carbon fibre for use in new applications in auto parts and for making airplanes.
The company, the sole supplier of carbon fibre for Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner, said it will target chassis and car bodies for its carbon fibre auto components as automakers try to make lighter cars to improve fuel efficiency.
Carbon fibre is much lighter and stronger than steel and does not corrode or suffer metal fatigue.
The firm currently supplies carbon fibre parts such as drive shafts.
The firm said it plans to build a research and development centre in Nagoya next year and will add production functions around 2010 to supply auto parts in addition to aerospace components.
A company spokesman said the investment may increase if the firm decides to add more production capacity.
The synthetic fibre maker plans to increase its auto parts sales, including parts not made of carbon fibre, to 350 billion yen in the year ending March 2016 from 124 billion yen in the year ended in March 2007.
Toray has already announced a 55 billion yen capital investment plan to expand production facilities for carbon fibre in Japan, the United States and France.
It also plans to raise its global carbon fibre capacity to 24,000 tonnes a year in 2010, more than triple the capacity in 2003, seeking to secure 40 percent of the global market.
Shares of Toray rose 4.1 percent to 892 yen.
REUTERS SR GC1203