Shawbury, UK-Rapra Technology Ltd, claiming to be Europe’s leading independent polymer research and technology centre, celebrated 50 years of business at its Shawbury, Shropshire, headquarters at the end of last year. Based originally in Croydon, the company moved into its Shawbury premises in Nov 1954, according to a 12 Jan statement issued by the organisation. This was mainly to bring it closer to its industrial membership which, at that time, was only the rubber industry (predominantly based in the Midlands and North West areas). The new premises were officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh, the statement added. Plastics were added to the organisation’s span of activity from 1960, when it became the Rubber and Plastics Research Association (known even then by most clients as ‘Rapra’). Most recently, in July 2002, the company was the subject of a management buyout. Andrew Ward, current managing director said “it is particularly pleasing to be able to celebrate a Golden Jubilee at the end of 2004 with an investment fund of over £1million and a plan to create 50 new jobs in the business over the next five years.” Recruitment at Rapra is already under way in line with the company’s new business plan in the areas of Environmental and Recycling services; Medical and Pharmaceutical services; Large research projects (UK-based, European and International); Regional support programmes in the UK and across Europe; Product design services; Ad-hoc product testing services and Information-based non-research funded/dissemination projects. Ward points out that “this new investment in growth activities and markets is intended to increase our current turnover by over 50 percent within the next five years. We know that this is an ambitious strategy but one that we feel is entirely sustainable and possible, given the skills of our people and the demand for their services. “50 years at this site is a real landmark,” says Ward, “and happens at an ideal time for innovative polymer businesses and partners in the industry to approach us with new ideas and projects. Our doors are always open to new ideas, outsourced projects and programmes and joint research ventures.”
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