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DuPont Plans to Invest $500 Million to Increase Capacity for Kevlar(R)
Wednesday September 19, 8:02 am ET

Growing Global Demand for Product Innovations is Key Driver for Major Expansion Plan, Underscores DuPont Commitment to Customers and Leadership in High Performance Fibers

WILMINGTON, Del., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As a leader in safety and protection, DuPont today announced production expansion plans for its high performance Kevlar® para-aramid brand fiber. DuPont plans to invest over $500 million in a multi-phase production expansion starting with a Kevlar® polymer expansion in Richmond, Va., later this year. For DuPont, a world leader in para-aramid sales, this expansion would increase Kevlar® capacity by more than 25 percent when complete in 2010 and represents the largest Kevlar® expansion since the product was introduced in 1965. Details about additional expansion phases will be announced at a later date.

"Global demand for DuPont(TM) Kevlar® has soared with the growing need for safety and security worldwide," Thomas G. Powell, vice president and general manager -- DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems, said. "In addition, high energy prices have increased demand for the lightweight strength of Kevlar® in the aerospace, oil and gas and automotive industries. Our capacity expansion plan is a critical step in growing the Kevlar® business, maintaining DuPont leadership in high performance fibers, and delivering the innovation customers expect from DuPont."

"This is a significant investment for DuPont and underscores our commitment to sustainability and providing products that improve the safety and protection of people and critical processes around the world," Mark P. Vergnano, group vice president -- DuPont Safety & Protection, said. "We are focusing our investment on products like Kevlar® that meet the needs of these multi-billion-dollar growth industries for high-performance, innovative materials."

DuPont is committed to investment in both Kevlar® and Nomex® brand aramid fibers, including several recent investments in both products. Between 2000 and 2006, DuPont successfully completed four Kevlar® fiber expansion projects at its Richmond, Va., and Maydown, Northern Ireland, facilities. The latest expansions incorporated a proprietary New Fiber Technology (NFT) developed and patented by DuPont. This new technology enables innovative fiber and production capabilities for DuPont and is essential to help meet future market needs. In August 2006, DuPont announced it expected to invest more than $100 million in a three-phase capacity expansion that would raise Nomex® fiber and paper capability by approximately 10 percent. The first phase of the Nomex® expansion is scheduled to go online later this year.

As the first man-made fiber to deliver high strength combined with light weight, Kevlar® is recognized as a category creator and leading brand in many high performance and life saving applications. This balance of properties makes Kevlar® the material of choice for a broad range of uses. Best known for its proven performance in ballistic and stab-resistant body armor, Kevlar® has helped to save the lives of thousands of law enforcement and military personnel around the world. The increasing need for protection against new and emerging threats continues to spur demand for Kevlar® in vehicle armoring, firefighter turnout gear, and blast and storm-resistant construction applications.

Demand for Kevlar® also is increasing in the oil and gas and aerospace industries. The lightweight strength, dimensional stability and chemical resistance of Kevlar® improve the reliability of umbilicals and risers used in offshore energy production platforms. These same properties also allow aerospace engineers and designers to build lighter aircraft with improved fuel efficiency.

For over 40 years, DuPont(TM) Kevlar® has been recognized worldwide for its proven performance in a wide variety of safety and high performance applications, including automotive brakes and tires; body armor and protective apparel; aerospace and airplane components; and building materials.

DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems serves a global marketplace from offices in all major regions of the world and has manufacturing facilities in Northern Ireland, Japan, Spain and the United States.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont(TM), The miracles of science(TM), Kevlar® and Nomex® are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Source: DuPont

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