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Huntsman closing US research unit

By David Reed, UT EditorLas Vegas, Utah-Huntsman Polyurethanes is closing its West Deptford, New Jersey, polyurethane rigid foam research and technology centre, as part of its Project Coronado $200-million cost-saving exercise. The unit, which presently employs about 120 people and occupies over 12 000 square metres, also houses a polyol blending facility whose activities will be transferred to the firm’s Geismar, Louisiana, site, according to one of the firm’s senior executives.The move, scheduled to be completed by late summer 2005, will be synchronised with the establishment in Houston, Texas, of a major R&T centre for all of Huntsman’s activities including its polyurethanes, advanced materials, and performance chemicals business units. The last of these encompasses the firm’s polyurethane catalysts business which is expected to improve synergies between the two PU-related units, according to Steven Burns, director of the Americas region for polyurethanes, who is leading the move on behalf of the Huntsman Polyurethanes business.The new centre, in the Woodlands area north of Houston, will comprise three main buildings for laboratories and offices, as well as a machine hall for some production-scale equipment, the Huntsman executive indicated, speaking in a 16 Oct interview during the Alliance for the Polyurethane Industry’s Polyurethanes 2004 conference in Las Vegas. Both buildings and land will be leased, rather than purchased, Burns said, adding that a separate facility in the Houston area will house the corporate management and other administrative functions for the various business units.About 300 people will be housed in the new centre, with around 50 people involved in the polyurethane activities, Burns concluded.”

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