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|Traded as||TYO: 4004|
|Founded||June 1, 1939|
|Mitsuo Ohashi (Chairman)|
Hideo Ichikawa (President & CEO)
|JPY 76.7 billion (2007)|
|JPY 1,023.2 billion (2007)|
Number of employees
Showa Denko K. K. (昭和電工株式会社 Shōwa Denkō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a leading Japanese chemical engineering firm.
Formed in 1939 by the merger of Nihon Electrical Industries and Showa Fertilizers, Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) manufactures chemical products and industrial materials. SDK's products serve a wide array of fields ranging from heavy industry to the electronic and computer industries. The company is divided in five business sectors: petrochemicals (olefins, organic chemicals, plastic products), aluminum (aluminum cans, sheets, ingots, foils), electronics (semiconductors, ceramic materials, hard disks), chemicals (industrial gases, ammonia, agrochemicals), and inorganic materials (ceramics, graphite electrodes). Showa Denko has more than 180 subsidiaries and affiliates including Showa Denko America in New York, NY, USA. The company has vast overseas operations and a joint venture with Netherlands-based Montell and Nippon Petrochemicals to make and market polypropylenes. In March 2001, SDK merged with Showa Denko Aluminum Corporation to strengthen the high-value-added fabricated aluminum products operations, and is today developing next-generation optical communications-use wafers.
Prior to World War II it was a part of the Mori group of companies as Showa Fertilizer (昭和肥料 Shōwa Hiryō). It was founded by Nobuteru Mori in the early 1930s, and opened the first ammonium sulfate factory in Japan in April 1931.
Hard Disc Media
The Petrochemicals Sector supports the growth of Showa Denko's basic business through the manufacture and sales of organic chemicals, olefins and specialty polymers.
SDK is the leader of the Asian ethyl acetate market.The Oita Plant, the main manufacturing base, supplies SDK and other chemical companies with the basic materials for making acetyl derivatives, synthetic resin, synthetic rubber, and styrene monomers.
Innovative products include a new heat-resistant, transparent sheet and film that can be used in flexible displays such as electronic paper and organic EL displays.
Originally focused on general-purpose industrial gases, medical gases, and industrial chemicals, SDK now provides a variety of products including high-purity gases and chemicals for the semiconductor industry. As the semiconductor industry shifted to other Asian locations, SDK established overseas specialty gases production sites in Shanghai and Singapore.
The company also offers an array of technologies and products covering various fields, including food additives, feed additives, cosmetic ingredients, medical and agricultural intermediates, optical-function materials, information-recording materials, functional polymeric materials, differentiated composite material, and liquid chromatography equipment (Shodex).
SDK recently launched an environmental initiative to reduce waste and encourage chemical recycling. In 2016 Showa Denko acquired GMM Nonstick Coatings, one of the world’s largest nonstick coatings companies founded in 2007 by Ravin Gandhi. Clients included companies in the American housewares industry including KitchenAid and Calphalon, in addition to foreign markets.
The Electronics Sector includes compound semiconductors, rare earth magnetic alloys, solid aluminum capacitors, and hard disks.
The compound semiconductors business deals with the crystal growth process, providing a wide range of products including Ultrabright LED Chips as well as blue LED Chips.
The solid aluminum capacitor business relies on conductive polymers, a combination of inorganic aluminum materials with organic polymers. The products offer with high heat resistance and high capacitance.
The electronics sector also produces aluminum-based and glass-based hard disks as well as aluminum substrates for hard disks. In September 2008 SDK announced a consolidation their hard disk (HD) media operations by establishing a joint venture with Hoya corporation in January 2009. The joint venture, will owned about 75% by SDK and about 25% by HOYA.However this joint venture ended in March 2009 due to the rapid deterioration of the global economy in the Hard Disk Sector.
The Inorganics Sector consists of the Ceramics Division, Carbons Division and Fine Carbon Department.
SDK's Ceramics products are used in a wide range of fields, including chemical products, refractory products, ceramics, paper manufacture, plastics and electronics. Key products include alumina hydroxide, alumina, and high-purity alumina. SDK also produces fused alumina abrasive grains, silicon carbide and boron nitride.
SDK produces artificial graphite electrodes, an indispensable material for the recycling of steel. Other products include fine carbulizing agents for iron casting.
In addition to VGCF carbon nanofibers and fuel battery materials already on the market, SDK is focusing R&D efforts on high-functionality carbon products, including battery materials, electronics materials, and materials for alternative energy solutions.
SDK produces heat exchangers, beverage cans, and other high value-added fabricated products from aluminum materials (including rolled, extruded and forged products).
The company is known for causing the second outbreak of Minamata disease (a type of severe mercury poisoning) in Kanose, currently part of Aga-machi, Niigata Prefecture, through the release of organomercury compounds into the Agano River.
In the 1980s Showa Denko applied genetic engineering to the bacteria it used in the fermentation through which it manufactured tryptophan so that the bacteria would be more efficient. At the same, they also changed the technique used to purify the tryptophan.:327–328 Some epidemiological studies traced an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) to L-tryptophan supplied by Showa Denko. It was further hypothesized that one or more trace impurities produced during the manufacture of tryptophan may have been responsible for the EMS outbreak. The fact that the Showa Denko facility used genetically engineered bacteria to produce L-tryptophan gave rise to speculation that genetic engineering was responsible for such impurities. However, the methodology used in the initial epidemiological studies has been criticized. An alternative explanation for the 1989 EMS outbreak is that large doses of tryptophan produce metabolites which inhibit the normal degradation of histamine and excess histamine in turn has been proposed to cause EMS. Once the link between EMS and Showa Denko's tryptophan had been established, chemical analyses of the tryptophan was performed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Japanese National Institute of Hygienic Sciences to determine if any contaminants were associated with EMS. Showa Denko reportedly destroyed the GM bacterial stocks after the EMS cases began to emerge. In 2017, the last of the 6 contaminant associated with the 1989 EMS disease outbreak, labelled Peak AAA, has been identified using high-resolution mass spectroscopy.