Sumitomo Chemical: quit caprolactam

Sumitomo Chemical exits caprolactam business

April 15, 2022

Sumitomo Chemical today announced its decision to close its production facilities for caprolactam, a raw material for nylon, at its Ehime plant (Niihama City, Ehime, Japan) in October 2022, and exit the business .

Sumitomo Chemical began production of caprolactam at its Ehime facility in 1965, using a liquid phase process, and has been in the business for over 50 years since. In 2015, as global production capacity increased, mainly due to heavy buildup in China, the company shut down its liquid phase production line to focus on its gas phase production line, which does not produce ammonium sulfate as a by-product. . During these years, while continuing to seek technological improvements and cost reductions, the Company came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to ensure sustainable competitiveness in the future and therefore decided to withdraw from caprolactam activity. Sumitomo Chemical will, however, continue to manufacture and sell cyclohexanone, an intermediate feedstock for caprolactam, as the business environment for this product is expected to remain strong.

As caprolactam production will be discontinued, Sumitomo Chemical is actively transforming Ehime Works’ operations in response to market changes. Following an expansion of the production capacity of the food additive methionine in 2018, the Company began construction of high-purity chemical plants for semiconductors and its liquid crystal polymer (LCP) SUMIKASUPERTM, which is a great engineering plastic, at Ehime Works. In addition, to prepare for the new era of carbon neutrality, the Company is building a pilot acrylic resin chemical recycling facility at the plant and reconfiguring its infrastructure by inviting an affiliate company to build an LNG terminal on site.

Under its corporate plan for fiscal 2022 to 2024 launched in April, Sumitomo Chemical will enhance the earning power of its technology-driven businesses while accelerating the transformation of its business portfolio to direct management resources to high growth industries. Exiting the caprolactam business is in line with this policy, and Sumitomo Chemical will continue to strengthen its business portfolio.

Overview of caprolactam production facilities to be discontinued

Annual production capacity

85,000 tons

Start of operations

June 2003


Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
Corporate Communication Department