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In this section, you can find the press release and photos subject to Kaneka’s nomination for the Foreign Investment Trophy 2018.
These photos of Jean Vandael & Katsutoshi Shichijo can only be used when mentioning copyright Flanders Investment & Trade.
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For the attention of Nancy Janssens (Senior Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator): nancy.janssens@kaneka.be.

Kaneka Belgium (Westerlo-Oevel) wins the Foreign Investment Trophy 2018.

Westerlo, Belgium - February 28, 2018 - Yesterday, the Japanese specialty chemicals firm Kaneka Belgium in Westerlo-Oevel won the Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy 2018 at FIT's Foreign Investment Trophy, emerging victorious from a pool of 5 nominees after 3 rounds of voting-by a professional jury, the public and the audience.

Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois presented the Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy 2018 to Jean Vandael, plant general manager, and Katsutoshi Shichijo, president of Kaneka Belgium. The Japanese specialty chemicals firm was recognized for the recent expansion of its MS Polymer production facility in Westerlo. "Kaneka's investment highlights Flanders' stra-tegic location and other strengths such as interesting tax incentives and a top-class, multilingual workforce," the Minister-President commented.

"For a B2B company like ours, the Foreign Investment Trophy is a unique opportunity to enhance our Kaneka brand awareness toward a broader audience. It is an incentive for us to go further on our chosen path, to explore new opportunities and to anchor the company even more deeply in the Kempen region of Flanders, relying on the professional knowledge and skills of our employees. Therefore, we are very proud!", says plant general manager Jean Vandael.

"We are grateful to Flanders Investment & Trade for this initiative and this award, and we herewith would like to thank all the people who voted for Kaneka!"

"Winning this award it is a great honor and recognition for our decades-long and relentless dedi-cation behind the spotlights, our creativity and commitment to the environment and the future of our society", adds Katsutoshi Shichijo, president Kaneka Belgium.

Foreign Investment Trophy: recognizing some of the most remarkable investments in Flanders' economy.

For the sixth time in a row, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) hosted the Foreign Investment Tro-phy on February 27th, 2018. The Deloitte Gateway Office at Brussels Airport provided a setting fit for this international investment competition, which recognizes some of the most remarkable investments made by foreign firms in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium.

Kaneka's last year's investment in a new and third cutting-edge MS Polymer production line at its facility in Westerlo resulted in this prestigious award. When completed at the end of 2018, the up-graded Flanders-based production plant will be Kaneka's largest in the world.

The other nominees for the Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy 2018 were: Boortmalt and French parent company Axereal, South Korean Hyundai Construction Equipment, Swiss pharma firm Novartis and South African paper and pulp producer Sappi.

About Kaneka Belgium and Kaneka Corporation

Founded in 1970, Kaneka Belgium NV was the first overseas subsidiary of the Japanese technology-driven chemical company Kaneka Corporation. Kaneka Corporation provides diversified products, globally supported by a worldwide manufacturing and marketing organization. Its business activities span a broad spectrum of markets, ranging from chemicals, food products, synthetic fibers, and life sciences to electrical and electronic materials. Today, Kaneka Corporation operates in almost twenty countries spread across the world and is a major global player in the field of macromolecular and fermentation technology. It offers innovative solutions in four strategic domains: materials, quality of life, healthcare and nutrition. Worldwide, Kaneka employs 9,500 peo-ple. To strengthen its governance systems, Kaneka has three regional holding companies in Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

Traditionally Kaneka Belgium has been active in the field of functional and foamed plastics, where it produces intermediate 'specialty chemicals' for a wide range of applications in construction, trans-portation, and packaging industries. Headquarters and plant are located in Westerlo, Belgium where three production sites are operational for impact modifiers (Kane Ace™), liquid polymers (Kaneka MS Polymer™) and lightweight expandable particle foams (Eperan™ and Eperan™-PP). Kaneka Belgium employs 311 people and maintains a steady turnover growth.

Traditionally Kaneka Belgium has been active in the field of functional and foamed plastics, where it produces intermediate 'specialty chemicals' for a wide range of applications in construction, trans-portation, and packaging industries. Headquarters and plant are located in Westerlo, Belgium where three production sites are operational for impact modifiers (Kane Ace™), liquid polymers (Kaneka MS Polymer™) and lightweight expandable particle foams (Eperan™ and Eperan™-PP). Kaneka Belgium employs 311 people and maintains a steady turnover growth.

Voting for Kaneka can be done here.

Investments to prepare the Kaneka-site in Oevel for the future.

Jean Vandael: “Kaneka MS Polymer™ is a reference base resin for high-quality sealants, adhesives, and coatings. Thanks to its innovative portfolio and excellent properties, it is used in a broad variety of markets, such as construction, industry, transportation, flooring, waterproofing, DIY, and many others.

The Belgian success story of Kaneka MS Polymer takes off in 1997 with the establishment of a first production facility. The steady growth of applications and penetration of new markets attribute to additional plant capacity expansions in 2004 and 2006.

Exactly twenty years after the original plant startup, Kaneka announced an investment of EUR 34 million at its Flanders-based site to complete a third production line for modified silicone polymers by the end of 2018. A portion of the investment will also be used to fund a new raw material storage facility on site as well as an unloading dock, transforming the plant into a fully-fledged ship unloading facility. The shift from ground to inland water transport will keep 900 ADR trucks off the roads and streamline Kaneka distribution lines, for significant cost reductions and ecological advantages.

Part of a 3-year, EUR 90-million global investment plan titled ‘Kaneka 2020 – Innovating the Future’, the Japanese firm’s most recent investments cement its role as a leading player in high-performance solutions for functional and foamed plastics. The program will prepare Kaneka Belgium for a sustainable, innovative and competitive future by installing i.a. new production facilities, an R&D center, new process software and renewal of site infrastructure.

“The investments confirm how important our factories in Flanders are to Kaneka’s ambitions in Europe and beyond. As such, we can stay committed to offering our customers high-quality, innovative products that enable them to develop new and sustainable solutions,” underlines Vandael.

A prime location in Flanders combined with profound knowledge are important

“The location of our factories along the Albert Canal in Flanders has afforded Kaneka important logistical advantages. Not only do local conditions – such as the presence of the shipping route and important road transportation hubs – contribute, but Flanders’ location at the heart of Europe and its highly educated and productive citizens do as well. Consequently, it came as no surprise when, in 1970, the ambitious Japanese Kaneka Corporation chose this strategic location to establish a European branch – building the first production site of any Japanese chemical company in Belgium. This choice proved to be the right one: in the four decades that have passed, Kaneka Belgium has grown into the perfect cornerstone of the company’s globalization goals.”

About Kaneka Belgium and Kaneka Corporation

Founded in 1970, Kaneka Belgium NV was the first overseas subsidiary of the Japanese technology-driven chemical company Kaneka Corporation. Kaneka Corporation provides diversified products, globally supported by a worldwide manufacturing and marketing organization. Its business activities span a broad spectrum of markets, ranging from chemicals, food products, synthetic fibers, and life sciences to electrical and electronic materials. Today, Kaneka Corporation operates in almost twenty countries spread across the world and is a major global player in the field of macromolecular and fermentation technology. It offers innovative solutions in four strategic domains: materials, quality of life, healthcare and nutrition. Worldwide, Kaneka employs 9,500 people. To strengthen its governance systems, Kaneka has three regional holding companies in Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

Traditionally Kaneka Belgium has been active in the field of functional and foamed plastics, where it produces intermediate ‘specialty chemicals’ for a wide range of applications in construction, transportation, and packaging industries. Headquarters and plant are located in Westerlo, Belgium where three production sites are operational for impact modifiers (Kane Ace™), liquid polymers (Kaneka MS Polymer™) and lightweight expandable particle foams (Eperan™ and Eperan™-PP). Kaneka Belgium employs 311 people and maintains a steady turnover growth.

Since 2015, Kaneka Belgium is structured under the holding company Kaneka Europe Holding Company NV. This holding includes other Belgian firms Kaneka Pharma Europe NV (medical devices and functional food ingredients) and Kaneka Eurogentec S.A. (high-quality products for life sciences, biotechnology, diagnostics and pharmacy).

  • From left to right:
  • Marc Van Gastel, afdelingshoofd Invest FIT
  • Jean Vandael, Plant General Manager Kaneka Belgium
  • Geert Bourgeois, Vlaams minister-president
  • Katsutoshi Shichijo, President Kaneka Belgium
  • Bruno Segers, Voorzitter Raad van Bestuur FIT

Need more information?

Senior Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator
0479 98 99 82
nancy.janssens@kaneka.be