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Grace Extends Reach in China

Published on 2006-08-18. Author : SpecialChem

COLUMBIA, MD -- W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) is continuing to expand in China with the creation of a trading company in Shanghai and the expansion of an office in Guangzhou and a technical service center in Shanghai. The developments are the result of Grace's continuing focus to provide more extensive resources for customers within China and throughout Asia.

The trading company, Grace Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., has been created as the local commercial platform to better serve customers in the region. The office in Guangzhou has been expanded, doubling its size and hosting more employees to better serve the South China market. The office was originally opened in 2000. The technical service center is located in the Minhang Economic and Technology Development Zone in Shanghai and is focused on sealants, closures and coatings for containers.

"We are leveraging a number of opportunities to support our customers as we move to a regional service structure," commented Fred Festa, President and CEO. "In particular, we are working to support the fast-moving development of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry with its strength in innovation, manufacturing and marketing of chromatography products."

Grace now operates four manufacturing facilities, four sales offices and four technical service centers in China (including Hong Kong.) There are more than 225 employees at the 12 locations.

China is an important component of Grace's strategy in Asia Pacific. Revenues from the region were $403.2 million in 2005, an increase of 15.5% from the prior year.

In addition to the business developments, Grace has launched a community stewardship initiative in China that involves an employee volunteer program, university scholarships and financial donations. The volunteer program focuses on youths with nearly a quarter of employees in China volunteering 240 hours during the program's first eight months. Their efforts directly impacted 50 children and up to 200 local residents. The company has reaffirmed its support through 2006 for chemistry scholarships with the East China University of Science and Technology and made financial contributions to Shanghai's Jiang Chuan Community "Sunshine Youth Center." The company's collective efforts have been acknowledged by the American Chamber of Commerce.

Grace has a special distinction in China's business history. Though the company has been a part of Chinese trade as far back as the 19th century, Grace became the first wholly foreign-owned enterprise allowed to conduct business in the country in 1986.

More recent developments include the setting up of a technical services laboratory in Shanghai in March 2006 that significantly improves the company's ability to support life sciences research and development across Asia. Grace offers an extensive product line involving chromatography, a technique used to separate mixtures of molecules into their individual constituents that is frequently used in drug discovery and development applications.

Grace is a leading global supplier of catalysts and other products and services to petroleum refiners; catalysts for the manufacture of plastics; silica-based engineered and specialty materials for a wide-range of industrial applications; specialty chemicals, additives and materials for commercial and residential construction; and can sealants and coatings for food packaging. With annual sales of more than $2.5 billion, Grace has employees in nearly 40 countries.

Source: Grace


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