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PolyOne invests in Asia Pacific and US tech centers

By: Frank Esposito

September 14, 2012

AVON LAKE, OHIO (Sept. 14, 1:35 p.m. ET) — PolyOne Corp. has opened a new color and additives innovation center in South Korea and has expanded its technology efforts at three other sites as well.

The Seoul location includes a DosiXpress rapid color development cell from PolyOne’s ColorMatrix unit. DosiXpress is an advanced liquid colorant system that typically reduces color development time from weeks to hours, officials said in a recent news release. PolyOne now has 11 innovation centers worldwide.

In Shanghai, the facility of PolyOne’s Colorant Chromatics subsidiary has added new equipment to make specialty color concentrates and formulations. That site is being outfitted as a centralized sales and development hub for the Asia-Pacific region, the company said.

Colorant Chromatics is part of ColorMatrix, which Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne acquired in late 2011 for nearly $500 million.

PolyOne’s chief innovation officer, Christopher Murphy, said the company is “known for our collaborative approach to innovation, and these latest investments are great example of how we’re always striving to help our customers succeed.”

The new offerings will serve customers in key markets such as personal care, beverage packaging and household products, said ColorMatrix Asia’s managing director, Steven Chai.

The company called Asia Pacific “a high-growth region.”

Colorant Chromatics manufactures concentrates and specialty formulations for applications in aerospace, medical, automotive, electronics, telecommunications and other markets. In June, PolyOne announced another international expansion with a focus on ColorMatrix products, a technical support center in South Africa.

At its Suwanee, Ga., innovation center, PolyOne has increased production capacity and expanded capabilities to support customers by prototyping film, sheet and injection molding processes. The expansion includes a comprehensive design idea library showcasing the impact of color and special effects on different shapes and materials and additional twin-screw extrusion capacity to provide quicker solution turnarounds, as well as advanced equipment to address increased demands for specialty performance additives.

And at its Avon Lake headquarters, PolyOne has launched fused deposition modeling capacity for rapid prototyping. That type of modeling uses computer drawings to directly manufacture working prototypes, eliminating the costly and time-consuming step of machining molds from metal.

The company did not provide financial or capacity details of the expansions.

 PolyOne — North America’s largest compounder and concentrate maker — posted sales of $2.9 billion in 2011. In the first half of 2012, the firm’s sales grew about 6 percent vs. the year-ago period to almost $1.6 billion, but profit fell almost 70 percent to less than $45 million in the same comparison.

On Wall Street, PolyOne’s per-share stock price began the year around $12 but was near $17.30 in early trading Sept. 14 – an increase of more than 40 percent.