Elkem Silicones, part of the Chinese chemicals company ChemChina, is building a new research & development centre at its site in Saint-Fons, near Lyon.
The new facility aims to support the company's “global growth strategy” and develop high value-added “silicones of tomorrow”, the company announced in a 6 Dec statement.
The €25-million site will house 130 researchers to support Elkem's policy of ‘upscaling its R&D activity in Europe'.
Construction work on the facility, which will span an area of 6,000 square metres, will start in March, with operation set for second half of 2020.
According to Elkem, the silicones industry is experiencing strong growth of over 5% per year, driven by urbanisation, the electrification of vehicles and a growing healthcare industry.
Elkem Silicones says its R&D personnel have increased by 11% in France and by more than 20% worldwide within the last four years.
According to Frédéric Jacquin, general manager of the Elkem Silicones, France offers ‘favourable local eco-system, high-quality workforce and the competitive research capabilities' to the company.