Asahi Kasei has decided to invest in US-based start-up NFW, a producer of non-petroleum-based leather alternative for car interiors.
Based in Peoria, Illinois, NFW was founded in 2015 and says it has developed the only platform capable of producing precision-engineered natural (non-petroleum-based) leather, foam, and textiles to replace animal and petrochemical-based materials.
As part of Asahi Kasei’s medium-term growth strategy and in close cooperation with Sage Automotive Interiors, Inc. (Sage), an Asahi Kasei company and a leading global provider of innovative and functional materials for the automotive interior, this strategic partnership enables another step to support global automotive OEMs in reducing the environmental burden of automobiles.
Certified by the United States Department of Agriculture as having 100% bio-based content, MIRUM, NFW’s patented leather alternative, is made from natural rubber, natural fibres, plant oils, natural pigments, and minerals. It is claimed the material offers superior durability and quality that can replace traditional animal-based or synthetic leather products without the use of any polyurethane or other coatings.
According to GlobalData’s deals database, Sage is engaged in the development, manufacture, and sales of innovative functional materials used in automobile interiors globally. Since its acquisition by Asahi Kasei in 2018, Sage has been strengthening its business activities in Europe and China through mergers and acquisitions, parallel to expanding its lineup of growth-potential materials such as suede and synthetic leather. As one of the leading global suppliers in the car seat fabric market, Sage has a strong presence among automakers and suppliers.
Dirk Pieper, Chairman of the Sage Board of Directors and Lead Executive for the development and growth of Asahi Kasei’s overall automotive product offering, states, “The cooperation with NFW will enable Asahi Kasei and Sage to assist global automakers in reducing the environmental burden of their cars. By jointly developing and manufacturing a non-petroleum-based and fully circular leather alternative, the Asahi Kasei Group takes a leading position in revolutionizing the market for car interior materials.”
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