February 10, 2023
On February 6, Nippon Paper Industries held a press conference at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Szijjártó Peter to announce the establishment of the company's first overseas production base for electric vehicle (EV) materials.
At the beginning of the press conference, Mr. Yuji Yoshikawa, Representative Director of Nippon Paper Chemicals Europe, stated, "With the cooperation of the Hungarian government and investment promotion agencies, we have decided to establish the first overseas production site for CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose), a battery material for EVs, using a plant-derived material used in foods and toothpaste. The project will be carried out in Budapest, Hungary, and will be the first overseas production base for CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose). The construction of the plant in Batslató near Budapest is scheduled to start in June this year and the plant will be operational from December 2024, employing about 60 new workers and aiming for annual sales of 50 million euros," he said.
The plant will be capitalized at 10 million euros, and in consideration of the local environmental conditions, the production line will be operated using a dry method that does not require the use of water. The company will acquire 43,000 square meters of land, of which 8,000 square meters will be used as the site for the first phase of the mill.
The reason for Nippon Paper Industries' decision to expand into Hungary is that, as the supply chain for batteries is being established in the European region from the perspective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, many battery-related companies from China, South Korea, and other countries are strengthening their operations in the European region. As a result, it has become necessary to expand the production base, which is currently limited to Japan, to Europe as well.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Szijjártó said, "From the perspective of environmental protection, automobiles will be replaced by EVs in the future, and the shift to EVs cannot be promoted without batteries and the presence of suppliers to support their production. In this environment, Hungary aims to serve as a bridge between EV manufacturers in Western Europe and battery manufacturers in Eastern Europe, so that both can meet in Hungary. Hungary is now the fourth largest battery producer in the world. Over the past six years, 47 EV-related projects have been developed in more than 20 locations in Hungary, with a total investment of more than 7 trillion forints (about 2.52 trillion yen; 1 forint = 0.36 yen)," he said, emphasizing that the country will continue to focus on attracting battery-related companies. He also emphasized that the company will continue to focus on attracting companies in the battery-related field. He then commented, "The product Nippon Paper Industries decided to invest in this time is an environmentally friendly biomass-based manufacturing technology made from cellulose, and the government provided a subsidy equivalent to 15% of the investment amount.