Teijin Limited - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Teijin Limited

1-6-7 Minami Honmachi
Osaka 541-8587

Company Perspectives:

Corporate Philosophy. Enhancing the quality of life through a deep insight into human nature and needs, together with the application of our creative abilities. IN HARMONY WITH SOCIETY. Our aim is to grow and evolve in harmony with the progress of society, thus justifying the trust of our shareholders, customers and the public at large.

We place the highest priority on safety and the preservation of our natural environment. EMPOWERING OUR PEOPLE. We encourage our employees to achieve self-realization by developing and exercising their abilities to the fullest. Teijin nurtures a corporate community with a wide variety of abilities and personalities to foster creative innovation.

History of Teijin Limited

Teijin Limited is one of the leading Japanese manufacturers of synthetic fibers, with fibers and textiles accounting for 55 percent of the company's total sales in fiscal 2003. Approximately 20 percent of revenues are derived from Teijin's films and plastics units, which produce such products as polyester film, polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) film and resin, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. The company's pharmaceuticals and home healthcare unit, though relatively small and limited largely to the Japanese market, is Teijin's biggest generator of earnings, accounting for more than 45 percent of 2003 operating income; about 10 percent of sales originate with this unit, which concentrates on three main therapeutic areas: respiratory, cardiovascular, and osteoporosis. More than 70 percent of Teijin's revenues are generated domestically. Sales outside Japan are made principally in Thailand, Indonesia, China, the United States, Mexico, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Leader in Rapid Development of Japanese Rayon Industry

Rayon yarn was produced commercially in Japan for the first time by Yonezawa Rayon Yarn Manufacturing Plant, a branch factory of Azuma Industries Ltd. Twenty-three years earlier, Count Chardonnet had established the first rayon manufacturing plant in France. The Japanese rayon industry developed rapidly despite its late start, and in 1936 attained the highest production level of rayon yarn in the world, only 22 years after it had begun commercial production. The rapid development of the Japanese rayon industry was led by Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi (Imperial Manmade Raw Silk) Company Ltd.

Naokichi Kaneko, head clerk of Suzuki Shoten Co., the second largest general trading company after Mitsui Bussan, played an important role in Teijin's establishment. Kaneko first became interested in rayon yarn in 1892. An English merchant showed him rayon yarn produced by Chardonnet's factory, demonstrating that an imitation raw silk could be produced. Kaneko established the Nihon Celluloid Jinzokenshi Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan Celluloid Rayon Yarn Co., Ltd.) jointly with Mitsubishi and Iwai Shoten in 1908, and planned to produce rayon yarn after the company had succeeded in producing celluloid. He instructed Hirotaro Nishida, the head of the engineering department, to explore possibilities for importing technology or to bring in engineers from foreign rayon manufacturing companies. Kaneko also delegated Taketaro Matsuda, former head of the Monopoly Department in the Formosa Government-General, to Europe to undertake research on celluloid and rayon yarn between June 1905 and October 1906, and asked an engineer of the Monopoly Department to research rayon yarn when he went to Europe a little later.

Seita Kumura, a graduate of the Department of Chemicals at the Imperial Technical University of Tokyo, had been researching leather at the Taiyo Leather Manufacturing Plant, which employed 30 to 40 employees, and acquired a patent for frosted leather. Kaneko became aware of Kumura's research and established Tokyo Leather Ltd. in partnership with the owner of Taiyo Leather and Kumura in 1907. The next year this partnership was merged with Azuma Leather Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Suzuki Shoten. Kumura became the chief engineer of Azuma Leather Co. Ltd., and began research on rayon while he continued to research and improve artificial leather production methods. Itsuzo Hata, a friend of Kumura's, became a lecturer at Yonezawa Engineering College in 1912 and dedicated himself to research on rayon yarn in close cooperation with Kumura. In 1914 Azuma Leather Co. Ltd. gave the researchers ¥1,200 to support their project. Kaneko visited Hata's laboratory the following year, was convinced of the future potential of rayon manufacturing, and decided to continue to support the research.

In October 1915 Kaneko established the Yonezawa Jinzokenshi Seizosho (Yonezawa Rayon Yarn Manufacturing Plant) as Azuma Kogyo Bunkojo, a branch factory of Azuma Leather Co. Ltd. At the end of 1915, Azuma Leather Co. Ltd. was renamed Azuma Industries Ltd. In July 1916 the plant supplied rayon yarn to Nishida Kahei Shoten, a prominent rayon yarn dealer in Japan, for the first time. Nishida Kahei severely criticized the yarn's quality, however, saying that it was no better than the foreign yarn of ten years earlier. Kumura and Hata tried to improve their yarn's quality, and the halt of imports of rayon yarn from abroad gave them a chance to acquire market share. In April 1917 they produced 100 pounds of rayon yarn per day. This was the same level at which Count Chardonnet had begun to produce rayon yarn commercially for the first time in the world. Production of rayon yarn increased steadily during World War I, and Suzuki Shoten separated the Yonezawa Rayon Yarn Manufacturing Plant from Azuma Industries Ltd. to establish Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi (Imperial Rayon Yarn) Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Azuma Industries Ltd., whose capital amounted to ¥1 million. The executive board members consisted of persons related to Suzuki Shoten and Azuma Industries, and included Kumura and Hata.

Mixed Fortunes in Mid-20th Century

Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi's fortunes were mixed in the early years. Many rayon yarn manufacturing companies which started up in the boom during and just after World War I went bankrupt during the Reactionary Crisis in 1920, and Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi almost went bankrupt. Its financial difficulties arose because the crisis coincided with Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi's beginning construction of a new factory in Hiroshima. Suzuki Shoten, its parent company, offered sufficient credit to enable Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi to overcome its problems and to continue the construction of the new factory. After 1923 the company entered a phase of high profits and maintained this level despite the entry into the industry of Mitsui Bussan and the three largest cotton spinning companies. Suzuki Shoten went bankrupt in the Japanese financial crisis of 1927, and Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi bore the liabilities, which amounted to ¥10 million, in place of Suzuki Shoten. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi managed to repay the debts within four years, however, far earlier than originally scheduled, and continued to earn high profits as well. The company constructed the Iwakuni plant in 1927 and the Mihara plant in 1934. Its production volume of rayon yarn amounted to 60 million pounds in 1937, far exceeding the volume produced by Toyo Rayon Ltd., its closest competitor. By 1937, although it ranked third in the production of rayon staple, short fibers which have to be spun to make yarn, it came first in total production of rayon yarn and rayon staple. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi was the oldest and the largest rayon producer in Japan when the Sino-Japanese War broke out.

During World War II the company's rayon production capacity decreased significantly as a result of the compulsory mergers of enterprises by the government, five of which occurred after October 1941, and the removal and destruction of equipment, the aim of which was to use scrapped iron as raw materials for weapons. Moreover, Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi was forced to convert to production of fuel for airplanes at the end of the war. Production of rayon staple ceased at the Mihara plant in March 1945 and production of rayon staple at the Iwakuni plant in April 1945. By the end of the war, the company was producing neither rayon yarn nor rayon staple. Immediately after World War II, the company experienced shortages of raw materials and chemicals. It produced a variety of goods such as salt, the sweeteners saccharin and dulcin, goggles, shoe cream, cosmetics, buckets, and handcarts in order to support its employees, and earned tens of millions of yen in cash by disposing of poison gas at an army plant. Its production of rayon increased rapidly after April 1947, however, when the GHQ agreed that Japan could return to a rayon production capacity of 150,000 tons per year. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi's production volume increased rapidly; rayon yarn production rose from 2.02 million pounds in 1946 to 42.5 million pounds in 1955 and rayon staple from 1.3 million pounds to 37.75 million pounds during the same period. The company began to produce rayon yarn and rayon staple at the Iwakuni and Mihara plants, and constructed the Komatsu plant in 1949 and the Nagoya plant in 1951. Moreover, it earned large profits during the Korean War boom period. Its sales amounted to ¥8.1 billion, and profits before tax were ¥3.7 billion.

Moving Beyond Rayon in the Postwar Period

After World War II, however, Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi's position in the chemical fiber industry declined. Staple production in Japan rapidly increased and in 1953 its volume surpassed 1938 levels, its previous pre- and postwar peak, whereas filament production was slow to recover and failed to reach prewar peak levels. After the war, Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi ranked first in filament production but ranked between seventh and tenth in staple production. Moreover, it lagged behind other chemical-fiber companies in entering newly developing synthetic-fiber industries. Toyo Rayon began to produce nylon and Kurashiki Rayon--known as Kuraray after 1970--produced vinylon, a synthetic fiber made from poly-vinyl-alcohol, in the early 1950s. Toyo Rayon, Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi's rival, earned high profits by succeeding in nylon production. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi staked its existence upon importing polyester technology from Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd. (ICI) of the United Kingdom. Shinzo Ohya, a former leader of the company now active in the political world, returned to become Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi's president in 1956. Teijin succeeded in importing polyester technology from ICI jointly with Toyo Rayon, and began to produce polyester fiber at the Matsuyama plant in 1958. Its polyester fiber division began to produce profits in the latter half of 1959, and by the latter half of 1960 contributed 82 percent of profits. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi monopolized the market for polyester jointly with Toyo Rayon. It started a prize-contest for product brand names with Toyo Rayon, resulting in the name "Tetoron," which it advertised actively. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi spent more on advertising than other companies, and in the early 1960s the company's ratio of advertisement cost to sales was higher than for any other chemical fiber producing company. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi organized a production team in the Hokuriku district, where the largest consumers of polyester fiber were located, and assisted weavers both technically and financially. These were the main reasons for its success in the polyester business.

President Ohya developed aggressive strategies, backed by the company's good business record and the rapid growth of the Japanese economy. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi entered other fields in the synthetic fiber industry, establishing Teijin Acrylic Ltd., which produced acrylic fiber, jointly with two other chemical companies and one wool company in 1959. Teikoku Jinzo Kenshi began to produce nylon at the Mihara plant in 1963. It thus became a general synthetic-fiber-producing company, and was renamed Teijin Ltd. in 1962. However, it withdrew from rayon staple production in 1967, from strengthened rayon yarn production in 1969, and from rayon yarn production in 1971, as they were no longer profitable. The content of Teijin's business changed significantly after 1958 when it began to produce polyester fiber. By the latter half of 1959, rayon accounted for less than half of total sales, and by the first half of 1960 synthetic fiber accounted for more than half of total sales. After that, synthetic fiber's share of sales increased rapidly to reach 75.1 percent in the latter half of 1973, of which polyester represented 56.6 percent and nylon 14.1 percent.

Diversifying Widely in the 1960s and 1970s

Teijin also moved upstream to the production of raw materials for synthetic fibers. In 1963 Teijin began to produce telephtalic acid, which was necessary for polyester fiber production. In 1964 it established Teijin Hercules Ltd., which produced dimethyl-telephtalate (DMT) jointly with Hercules Inc. in the United States and in 1968 established Teijin Petro Chemicals Ltd., which produced paraxylene and orthoxylene, raw materials of polyester. In 1966 it invested in Japan Soda Ltd. and participated in its management. Nisso Petro Chemical Ltd., Japan Soda's subsidiary, produced ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol. Teijin thus became able to supply its own intermediate and raw materials for polyester fiber production. In 1963 Teijin established Japan Lactam Ltd., which produced caprolactam, jointly with Sumitomo Chemicals and Kureha Chemicals.

Teijin also began an aggressive diversification strategy, establishing a Future Business Department in 1968 and setting up many subsidiary companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals, construction materials, foods, cosmetics, and leisure. It also established an Oil Development Department in 1970 and began to develop oil resources in Iran, Nigeria, and the Straits of Malacca. Its investment in and loans to related companies increased rapidly from ¥30.6 billion at the end of March 1968 to ¥169.1 billion at the end of March 1978. On the eve of the first oil crisis in 1973, oil development and future businesses constituted two of Teijin's three main pillars--the third was textiles, its traditional business.

Under Ohya's guidance, Teijin began active expansion abroad. In 1961 it established a joint venture with a local company in Sri Lanka and subsequently entered Formosa, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil, and Australia. In 1973 its foreign subsidiaries consisted of five in textiles and yarn manufacturing and 14 in spinning, weaving, dyeing, and printing. Teijin planned to increase its overseas production of polyester textiles and yarn to more than three times the level of 1973, to exceed domestic production within five years. The plan, however, was not realized.

Refocusing on Core Areas in Late 1970s and 1980s

Teijin's business performance deteriorated and its operating profits were in the red for the first time by the first half of 1977. President Ohya circulated a memorandum entitled "A State of Emergency" to all directors of departments. He ordered them to reduce manufacturing costs drastically, develop high value-added merchandise, improve non-profitable businesses, decrease administrative costs at headquarters, and develop new businesses in textiles-related fields. He emphasized the importance of adaptability if the company was to keep ahead in the 1980s. Teijin reduced its number of employees drastically, from 10,346 at the end of 1977 to 7,446 at the end of 1978, and thoroughly reexamined its related companies, including those overseas. Investment and loans in related companies decreased from ¥169 billion at the end of 1978 to ¥120 billion at the end of 1983, and its ratio to the amount of total assets decreased from 38.6 percent to 26.8 percent during this period. Teijin retreated from the oil development and polyester businesses in Spain and Brazil and from many other fields.

The liquidation of nonprofitable businesses almost came to an end in 1982 and profits before tax increased from ¥11.8 billion in 1982 to ¥37.6 billion by 1990. In 1982 polyester continued to occupy the most important position in terms of sales. Polyester film was the most profitable item among chemicals, with various uses such as photograph films; magnetic tape for VTR, audio, and computer; and wrapping materials. Especially in the field of base film for magnetic tape, Teijin shared a monopoly with Toray Industries, Inc. (the former Toyo Rayon). Its sales structure changed somewhat in 1990, and polyester's and nylon's share of sales decreased to 51.1 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively, with pharmaceuticals accounting for 12.3 percent. Chemicals' share remained almost stable, accounting for 23.3 percent of sales. Teijin established Teijin Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in 1978 as a 100-percent-owned subsidiary and amalgamated it in 1983. Gamma-globulin was the most successful product of its Medicine Manufacturing Department. Nonfiber products contributed more than half of Teijin's net profits as polyester film and pharmaceuticals were far more profitable than textiles. The 1980s ended with the appointment of Hiroshi Itagaki as president and CEO.

Establishing Series of Joint Ventures in the Early to Mid-1990s

One focus for Teijin in the early 1990s was returning its polyester film business to profitability. Japanese makers of polyester film, which was principally used in the production of audio- and videotape, had been hurt by shrinking demand for these products, prompting many of them to transfer production outside of Japan into markets with lower production costs. Rather than establishing its own overseas production plants, Teijin went the joint venture route. In late 1991 the company established joint venture companies in both the United States and Europe with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) for the production and sale of polyester film. Teijin subsequently closed one of its three domestic film-production plants and switched the other two plants to the production of general industry-use films. These restructuring efforts helped return Teijin's polyester film business to the black by 1995.

Teijin established several other joint ventures in the early to mid-1990s. In late 1993 the company joined with Itochu Corporation, a Japanese trading giant, and Mantero Seta S.p.A., a leading Italian silk maker, to form TMI Europe S.p.A. as a European-based manufacturer and marketer of polyester fabrics. Teijin took a 51 percent stake in the new venture, which opened a new factory in Vercelli, Italy, in June 1996. Teijin and DuPont joined forces again in September 1995, this time creating a 50-50 joint venture called Teijin DuPont Nylon Ltd. for the production and marketing of nylon fiber in Japan. Early the following year Teijin set up a polyester film joint venture in Indonesia called P.T. Indonesia Teijin Films.

Also in 1996, Teijin began independent selling of all the pharmaceutical products that it produced. This ended more than 18 years of collaboration with Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co., a much larger Japanese drug company. Teijin no longer needed Fujisawa's assistance in marketing its products, having gradually built up its own nationwide sales network since 1988. Starting with fiscal 1997, Teijin's pharmaceutical division began consistently generating more than 50 percent of the company's total profits, while still accounting for only about 10 percent of revenues.

Late 1990s and Beyond: Restructuring for the New Century

Overall, the 1990s were a period of stagnation for Teijin as the company failed to reach the level of profits achieved in 1990. Shosaku Yasui, a one-time economist who joined the company in 1957, took over as chief executive in 1997 and concentrated on turning the firm around. Two key early initiatives of Yasui, launched in 1999, involved cutting the executive board from 24 members to 10 in order to achieve faster decision-making, and setting up an international advisory board that included John A. Krol, former chairman and CEO of DuPont, and Ronald Hampel, former chairman of ICI.

Yasui also continued to emphasize joint ventures, particularly to turn Teijin into more of a global player. In January 2000 Teijin and DuPont expanded their polyester film alliance into a worldwide one involving joint ventures in seven nations: Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Together, these ventures generated $1.5 billion in annual sales and commanded global market share of 25 percent, ahead of the other two major players in this field, Toray Industries and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. Also in 2000 Teijin gained majority control of Toho Tenax Co., Ltd. (the newly named Toho Rayon Co.), making it a consolidated subsidiary. Toho Tenax was the world's second largest producer of carbon fiber, a high-performance fiber experiencing more rapid growth than that of polyester fiber. Another growth area for Teijin was polycarbonate resin, a plastic used in production of compact discs and DVDs. In October 1999 the company started up a large new production plant in Singapore that solidified its position as the number three polycarbonate player globally, behind GE Plastics and Bayer AG.

Teijin also gained another foothold in the North American market in 1999 by setting up a polyester filament manufacturing joint venture in Mexico with Alpek S.A. de C.V. Further foreign bases were gained in November 2000 through the acquisition of the polyester monofilament business of the U.S. firm Johns Manville Corporation, which had operations in both the United States and Germany. Polyester monofilaments were used in such applications as paper manufacturing materials, conveyor belts, and filters. In February 2001 Teijin gained its first significant wholly owned manufacturing entity in Europe by acquiring Twaron Products from the Dutch chemicals group Acordis. Twaron (renamed Teijin Twaron B.V.) was one of the world's two largest makers of para-aramid fibers, a high-performance chemical material used in the production of such products as optical fibers. Seeing the increasing importance of information technology (IT) to his business, and continuing to seek areas with greater potential for future growth, Yasui set up an IT business called Infocom Corporation that began operating as a joint venture with trading company Nissho Iwai in 2001. Infocom was involved in a wide variety of IT applications, including information services and software, working with clients both inside and outside of Teijin. Infocom went public in March 2002 with a listing on the NASDAQ.

Yasui moved into the chairmanship of Teijin in November 2001, retiring from his executive positions for health reasons. Toru Nagashima took over as president and CEO, picking up the restructuring mantle from his predecessor. Just a few months later, Teijin announced another important restructuring move: the transformation of Teijin into a holding company that would oversee eight business groups, each of which would eventually become an entirely self-contained entity. The first group to receive this treatment was the polyester apparel fiber business, which was spun off into a wholly owned subsidiary called Teijin Fibers Limited in April 2002. One year later, Teijin officially adopted the holding company system, and in October of that year the pharmaceutical and home healthcare unit was transferred into a wholly owned subsidiary named Teijin Pharma Limited. The latter move followed the collapse of a proposed merger of the pharmaceutical division with Kyorin Pharmaceutical Co., whereby Teijin would have jumped to 20th from around 40th position in the Japanese drug sector. Teijin said that it would continue to seek a merger or acquisition as it aimed to double its annual drug sales of ¥100 million.

Meantime, Teijin Seiki Co., Ltd., the company's machinery manufacturing subsidiary--producing precision equipment, aircraft and oil hydraulic equipment, and textile and industrial machinery--was merged with Nabco Ltd. to form Nabtesco Limited. Teijin held only a minority stake in the new entity. Other developments in this period included the announcement in October 2002 that Teijin and DuPont would dissolve their nylon joint venture in Japan--Teijin DuPont Nylon--having concluded that it no longer made economic sense to operate the company.

Results for fiscal 2003 of ¥890.43 billion (US$7.41 billion) represented a drop in revenues of 1.6 percent, mainly resulting from Teijin's divestment of noncore businesses, such as acetate fibers. Operating income jumped 19.7 percent, to ¥35.3 billion ($293.7 million), but Teijin suffered a net loss of ¥20.98 billion ($174.5 million), reflecting restructuring costs of ¥15.82 billion ($131.6 million) and, following stock market declines, a writedown of securities investments of ¥25.98 billion ($216.14 million). Teijin returned to profitability in the first half of fiscal 2004 as it focused on aggressively investing in the four areas of its business that were deemed to have the greatest potential for future growth: industrial fibers (aramid and carbon fibers), plastics (polycarbonate resin), pharmaceutical and home healthcare, and IT services.

Principal Subsidiaries: Infocom Corporation (50%); Teijin Solufil Limited; Teijin Advanced Films Limited (67%); Teijin Shokusan Co., Ltd.; Teijin Finance Limited; Teijin Logistics Co., Ltd.

Principal Operating Units: Textile Fibers Business Group; Industrial Fibers Business Group; Fiber Products Marketing Business Group; Films Business Group; Plastics Business Group; Medical & Pharmaceutical Business Group; Machinery & Engineering Business Group; IT Business Group.

Principal Competitors: Nan Ya Plastics Corporation; Toray Industries, Inc.; Asahi Kasei Corporation; Toyobo Co., Ltd.; Kuraray Co., Ltd.; Mitsubishi Rayon Company, Limited; Unitika Ltd.; Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation; Tuntex, Thailand Public Co. Ltd.; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; KoSa B.V.; Kanebo, Ltd.; GE Plastics; Bayer AG.


Additional Details

Further Reference

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: