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Victrex Invest in New Technology Centre in Asia

21 October 2005

Victrex is to invest in a new Commercial, Technology & Application Centre to be located in Shanghai, China as part of its drive to satisfy customer demand for its Peek polymer in Asia.

The Center will offer customers expertise in material specification, testing, research and application development. Commercially, the Centre will help to expedite orders and coordinate shipment of product from local warehouses. The Centre is scheduled to open in 2006.

“This investment allows us to provide a higher level of service to all customers throughout Asia,” said Richard Okupniak, General Manager for Victrex Asia-Pacific. “The Asia Pacific region is the world's fastest growing market for materials, and Victrex is committed to support this market growth with its high performance Victrex Peek product offering and technical focus.”

The new Commercial, Technology & Application Center compliments Victrex existing efficient supply chain management strategy. “Our supply strategy ensures that our customers around the world continue to gain quick and efficient access to Victrex Peek materials for their new and existing applications,” continued Okupniak. “Victrex can deliver Victrex Peek to most international destinations within seven days of receipt of an order.”

Despite recent global material shortages of other polymers, Victrex continues to meet the supply demands of customers with Victrex Peek. Bucking the materials shortage trend that is being seen in the industry, Victrex is, in contrast, implementing steady year-on-year increases in materials production and sales volumes.

The company recently acquired operations owned by a subsidiary of Degussa AG relating to the manufacture of BDF (the key raw material from which Victrex Peek polymer is produced). The transaction further consolidated Victrex control of the BDF supply chain following the acquisition of the primary manufacturing stage of BDF in 1999.

Continues Okupniak, “In the last 12 months, sales volume in Asia has risen by 50% to 291 tonnes. This significant increase is not just a result of the transfer of manufacturing to Asia, but we are increasingly seeing Victrex Peek specified as the material of choice, by Asian engineers working on local designs. We work hand-in-hand with local engineers and designers helping to create innovative solutions with our materials.” Victrex Peek offers a combination of properties that makes it the material of choice in a wide range of demanding end-use applications such as components for cars, cookware, aircraft, oil/gas piping, industrial pumps, valves and seals, to silicon wafer carriers, connectors, and sterilisable surgical instruments.

In the past year, Victrex has launched a number of new products, including: Victrex High Flow Peek to enable customers to produce thin wall, intricate parts; Victrex Ultra-High Purity Peek to meet the increasing demands of the semiconductor industry; and Victrex Peek -based coatings which offer superior performance over existing coating systems. Victrex is also working on even higher temperature polymers, film grades, further advanced compounds, and innovative processing technology.

Victrex’s plans for a new Centre in Asia follows previous expansion plans announced by Victrex USA in September this year to construct a second manufacturing facility at its main UK site in Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire. This expansion was also for the production of Victrex Peek high performance polymer, which would increase production by 50% for the product.