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Rhodia Formally Opens New Research Center in Bristol, Pa.
Monday June 26, 4:01 pm ET

BRISTOL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 26, 2006--Specialty chemicals producer Rhodia Inc. today formally opened its new North American research and technical center in modern laboratory facilities at The Bridge Business Center in Bristol, Pa.

Community leaders and representatives from municipal and state government agencies joined the company's North American and global research leaders in ribbon-cutting ceremonies and tours of the research center.

About 100 Rhodia scientists and technicians now conduct chemical research, development and applications projects in about 71,000 square feet of laboratory space in Bristol. Among these researchers, 33 hold Ph.D degrees and another 15 hold master's degrees.

This research team develops and launches about 20 new products, and files an average of 20 new patent applications each year.

"Rhodia's Bristol site is a productive and crucial part of the company's worldwide research and development network," explained Paul-Joel Derian, who heads Rhodia's global research and development programs. "This modern facility allows our researchers to continue a tradition of innovation that ultimately leads to new products in agricultural, consumer and industrial sectors."

In addition to developing new product offerings for Rhodia, researchers also work directly with customers' research and development teams to create new features for existing products and to resolve technical, performance or production challenges.

Rhodia Inc. President James Harton said, "This new research location will help to ensure Rhodia's continued innovations that deliver key performance features and ingredients for our customers' products. Diverse sectors such as consumer products, agricultural and industrial markets all benefit from our innovations."

The Bristol facility houses a network of application laboratories dedicated to Rhodia's main markets. These include laboratories focused on

  • Consumer health, serving the pharmaceutical industry;
  • Home and personal care, serving cosmetics, detergents and baby care markets;
  • Phosphorus specialties and derivatives, for water treatment products and flame retardants;
  • Paints and coatings, for paint, construction, adhesives and textile industries;
  • Oil field technologies, supplying products to enhance efficiency of oil recovery.

This network of application labs is supported by Rhodia's three platforms of expertise, including synthesis and development, analytical and technologies, and the complex fluids lab.

The complex fluid laboratory is a transversal lab focusing on physical chemistry which is affiliated with the prestigious French national research laboratories (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, or CNRS).

Formerly located in Cranbury, N.J., the laboratories were relocated to Bristol late last year and resumed operations in phases earlier this year. The lab site is adjacent to chemical production facilities operated by Rohm & Haas Company and Arkema Inc.

An economic development assistance package from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was a key factor in Rhodia's decision to relocate its laboratories to Bristol. Rhodia accepted an Opportunity Grant of $150,000 from state's Department of Community and Economic Development.

Rhodia will also utilize the State's Job Creation Tax Credit Program to receive a $276,000 credit to the company's Pennsylvania Corporate Net Income Tax over three years, after fulfilling the program's job creation requirement.

Customized Job Training grants will also be available up to $50,000, depending on Rhodia's needs for technology training programs and individual employee eligibility.

"Pennsylvania's assistance package was welcome encouragement for our relocation of these technology jobs and laboratory facilities," Harton said. "We look forward to a long and productive future as a Pennsylvania corporate citizen."

The move was part of Rhodia's plan announced in July, 2004 to reconfigure its North American headquarters and laboratories after divesting several businesses. Rhodia also operates research laboratories in France, Brazil and China.

Rhodia is a global specialty chemicals company recognized for its strong technology positions in Performance Materials, Functional Chemicals and the Organics and Services clusters. Partnering with major players in the automotive, refining, electronics, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, consumer care, tires, and paints and coatings markets, Rhodia offers tailor-made solutions combining original molecules and technologies to respond to customers' needs. Rhodia subscribes to the principles of Sustainable Development communicating its commitments and performance openly with stakeholders. Rhodia generated sales of 5 billion euros in 2005 and employs 20,000 people worldwide, including about 1,800 at 20 locations in North America. Rhodia is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges.

Source: Rhodia Inc.

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