PET maker Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi is moving its North American research facility from Akron, Ohio, to a larger site in nearby Sharon Center.
M&G officials said the new, 40,000-square-foot site, which will open in the second half of 2002, is larger than the current space it leases from the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on Goodyear's Akron campus.
M&G inherited the Akron site from Shell Chemical Co. when it bought Shell's global PET operations in early 2000. Shell had bought Goodyear's PET business in 1992.
All 40 Akron research employees will be transferred to the Sharon Center site.
M&G could have worked out a new lease with Goodyear to remain in Akron but wanted to invest in a wholly owned building and commit itself to better technology, officials said.
Although the total cost of the project was not disclosed, M&G officials said the firm would spend $1 million on new equipment for the lab. Tortona, Italy-based M&G also recently completed a new lab in Rivalta, Italy.
The new labs in Sharon Center and Rivalta ``allow [M&G] to grow further and develop exciting new resins for the emerging opportunities for PET,'' Guido Ghisolfi, M&G operations and technology vice president, said in a news release.
Other M&G growth plans include a new 600 million-pound annual capacity PET plant set to open in Altam¡ra, Mexico, early next year. In late 2001, M&G completed a 10 percent capacity expansion at its PET plant in Point Pleasant, W.Va.
M&G currently ranks fifth among North American PET manufacturers with a market share that is estimated at 13 percent. The company, a major player in the European PET preform and film markets, posted sales of about $900 million in 2000.