Specialty chemicals maker Albemarle Corp. has signed a letter of intent to acquire land in China for service and production facilities.
Richmond, Va.-based Albemarle will open a technology center in Nanjing, China. At first, the site will handle technical support for Asian customers using the company's flame retardants.
The Nanjing facility will feature a test lab for flexible polyurethane foam flame retardants and polymer testing capability for Albemarle's ALBlend additive blend products.
The firm chose Nanjing because of ``the ability to locate both manufacturing and a technology center on the same site,'' said Asia-Pacific Managing Director Scott Sutton.
Another advantage of Nanjing is the ``good employee base'' provided by the city's expanding chemical industry, Sutton added. Nanjing is home to three Sinopec refining and chemical subsidiaries - Jinling Co., Yangzi Petrochemical Co. and Yizheng Chemical Fiber Co.
Albemarle also has signed definitive agreements to form a second Chinese joint venture, which will be named Shanghai Jinhai Albemarle Fine Chemicals Co. Ltd.
Shanghai Jinhai will be a sister company to Albemarle's existing joint venture in China, Ningbo Jinhai Albemarle Chemical and Industry Co. Ltd.
Sutton said the two companies will produce and market the same products: polymer stabilizers and intermediates for polymer stabilizers.