TOKYO -- Lixil, a Japanese building material and household equipment manufacturer, has reached a licensing agreement with local partners in India and Kenya for the production and sale of its product the Sato -- short for "safe toilet."
More than 1 million units of the simple yet hygienic design, which sells for $2 to $5 apiece, are in use in about 15 countries.
Local production, however, has been limited to Bangladesh and Uganda.
The company is now looking to expand the manufacturing base in emerging countries where unsanitary toilets are a major health concern.
Production in the two new countries will start by March 2018.
Lixil aims to make the Sato profitable by fiscal 2020.
In April, the company will launch a campaign in its home market, whereby one SATO unit will be donated to locations in Asia and Africa for every purchase of a toilet with an integrated bidet, such as its Satis model. The company plans to donate 200,000 units by September.
Lixil will work in cooperation with United Nations agencies that coordinate support for refugees to choose locations for installation of the donated units and instruct locals on their use.