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Asahi Glass says it will buy Danish biologics maker

Japanese company branching out from mature glass market in pursuit of growth

Asahi Glass seeks expansion in areas other than automotive glass.

TOKYO -- Asahi Glass said it is purchasing Denmark's CMC Biologics for about 60 billion yen ($512 million), hoping to tap into pharmaceutical-sector growth fueled by rising middle classes in emerging markets. The Nikkei reported the deal earlier.

The Tokyo-based company is a major global supplier of automotive glass but faces growing competition from such emerging economies as China. Glass production techniques are already well established, making significant growth in the business unlikely. Asahi Glass is instead bolstering operations in the more promising field of life science.

CMC Biologics is a biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer whose operations include making biologics and protein-based components used in drugs. It has substantial output capacity, with Danish and American plants, and employs roughly 530 people.

Asahi Glass is one of Japan's leading contract manufacturers of biologics. It once had only domestic facilities but has begun expanding abroad with a German acquisition. Asahi Glass will be making further inroads into the European market -- the largest for biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing -- as it eyes an entry into the U.S. as well.

Asahi Glass plans 300 billion yen in strategic investments, such as mergers and acquisitions, over the five years through 2020. It announced Wednesday an agreement to buy a Thai plastics maker owned by European chemical producer Solvay for 33.5 billion yen.

(Nikkei)

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