Toray celebrates $45 million expansion, 35 new jobs

Akihiro Nikkaku, left, president and CEO of Toray Industries Inc., chats with Shinsuke Sugiyama, right, Japan's ambassador to the United States, prior to the ceremony Tuesday marking the completion of an expansion at Toray's Front Royal plant. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Representatives from the state, Toray and Japan gathered Tuesday to celebrate the company’s recently completed $45 million expansion and its addition of new jobs.

The expansion not only increased Toray’s ability to produce its polyolefin foams that are used in vehicle interiors by major automobile manufacturers but also added 35 new jobs at the Front Royal branch. Construction on the expansion began in August 2016; the first foam at the new facility was produced in January, three months ahead of schedule.

Hidetaka Hoketsu, general manager of Tokyo-based Toray’s polyolefin division, said the company opened its Front Royal location in 1996 and now employs 46,000 globally and 150 locally.

“This success and achievement wouldn’t be possible without the customers and the support of Warren County and the Town of Front Royal. I would like to thank all of you for your support,” Hoketsu said.

Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan’s ambassador to the United States, said Toray’s investment is important because it increases Japan’s investment in the United States.  He added that he hopes it will help continue to foster a good economic relationship between the two countries.

Angela Navarro, Virginia deputy secretary of commerce and trade, speaks during the ceremony Tuesday marking the completion of a two-year, $40 million expansion at Toray Plastics in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Sugiyama noted that Toray’s products are used by a majority of car manufacturers in America and abroad, and added that he is hopeful Toray’s investment will continue to stimulate the local and national economies.  

Akihiro Nikkaku, Toray Industries president and CEO, said the project represents the company’s largest expansion in Front Royal. He seconded Sugiyama’s hopes that Toray will continue to serve as a benefit to the economy and the Japanese-American relationship

Angela Navarro, Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade, thanked Toray for its investment and said it is a great example of an international company investing in Virginia.

“This was a significant investment and a significant victory for the Commonwealth of Virginia as Toray is one of the Northern Shenandoah Valley’s largest employers and valuable corporate partner to the region and the state,” Navarro said.

She said Toray’s decision to invest in Virginia illustrates the state’s world-class business environment, quality of life and workforce. She added that the manufacturing sector will continue to be a cornerstone of the state’s efforts to strengthen the local and international economies.

“This administration is committed to supporting Toray’s continued success in Front Royal,” Navarro said.

After speaking, Navarro presented Toray President and C.E.O. Michael Brandmeier with a flag that had been flown over the state capitol. She asked that it be proudly displayed at Toray’s growing facility to symbolize the continued partnership between the state and Toray.