July 1, 2002

Nippon Paper Industries to Commence Operation of State-of-the-Art Cast Coater at its Iwakuni Mill

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Tokyo, July 1, 2002 - Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., Japan's leading paper and pulp manufacturing company and a member of the Nippon Unipac Holding Group, has finalized installation of state-of-the-art cast coater equipment at its Iwakuni Mill (located in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture). The Iwakuni Mill will commence operation of the equipment on July 1. The equipment boasts a 5,000-ton production capacity per year and was installed following a capital investment of approximately 3 billion yen.
Cast coated paper, such as glossy ink-jet paper, is produced at the Iwakuni Mill and is sold by Nippon Paper Sales Co., Ltd., a Nippon Unipac Holding Group company. As sales of products such as glossy ink-jet paper and label paper, have been vigorous recently, supply capacity has been stretched thin. The move to expand facilities was made to enable the Mill to meet this growing demand.
Advancements in the quality level of ink-jet paper have continued, following improvements in the performance and features of digital cameras and printers. In particular, demand for glossy type ink-jet paper used for photos has expanded tremendously, and higher standards of paper appearance, gloss and brightness are in high demand.
In the fall of 2001, Nippon Paper Sales launched sales of its IJ-PG glossy ink-jet paper. This was the first time cast coated paper was sold to correspond to market needs and satisfy users in terms of photo-image quality. The new cast coater will produce the IJ-PG paper, which has been well received in the market since it was first put on sale. In addition to enhanced quality, production activities via the new state-of-the-art equipment, boasting a maximum coating width of 3,420 mm - one of the widest in its class - are also expected to yield improvements in cost performance.
The investment in mill and equipment by Nippon Paper Industries will further strengthen the Iwakuni Mill's standing as a production base for glossy-type coated ink-jet paper. Meanwhile, combined with the Nakoso Mill (located in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture), which produces mat-finish coated type ink-jet paper, further proactive business expansion will be pursued in the rapidly growing ink-jet paper market, under the dual production base system. In addition to domestic activities, Nippon Paper Sales also plans to sell these products in the North American, European, and Asian (particularly the Chinese) markets as well.