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Grace Opens New Offices in China

Published on 2005-09-14. Author : SpecialChem

COLUMBIA, Md. -- W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA - News) is expanding its reach in China with the opening of a new office in Shanghai and a technical service center in Beijing.

The office in Shanghai serves as the headquarters for Grace China Ltd. and is a consolidation of four separate offices, allowing for a more centralized operation in China. The technical service center in Beijing houses chemical and physical testing laboratories for cement and cement additives, as well as physical testing facilities for concrete and concrete admixtures. It uses raw materials from within China to customize additive formulations to meet varying customer requirements.

Grace now operates manufacturing sites in four Chinese cities: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangdong and Tianjin, and three technical service centers on the mainland. Over the years, Grace China has grown to more than 150 employees and increased sales by 30% in the first half of 2005 over the same period in the previous year.

"Our growth in China didn't happen overnight but it has been consistent and steady," remarked Fred Festa, President and CEO of Grace. "Our investments and technical service facilities in China are all part of an overall strategy to help our customers in the region grow."

Grace has also relocated many of its regional business leaders to China from other locations in Southeast Asia. James J. Healy was appointed President of Grace China Ltd. in June 2004 and is based in Shanghai. He joined Grace in August 2000 as Vice President and General Manager of Asia Pacific, then based in Singapore.

As a leading supplier of building materials, Grace products were used in the construction of the K Wah Center located in downtown Shanghai. In addition, Grace was a major participant in other important infrastructures and commercial buildings in China, including Hangzhou Bay Bridge, Maglev, Plaza 66 and Grand Gateway.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies will take place on September 19 in Beijing and on September 20 in Shanghai. Company executives from around the globe will be traveling to China to meet with over 150 customers, and discuss company plans and share the strategy for China going forward. In conjunction with the ceremonies, Grace will unveil a scholarship program to assist 20 low-income students majoring in chemistry at China East University.

Grace has a long history in China dating to the 19th century when company steamships began trading goods across the seas. In 1986, Grace became the first wholly foreign-owned enterprise to be allowed to conduct business in China.

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 $2.2 billion, Grace has over 6,500 employees in nearly 40 countries.

Source: W. R. Grace & Co.

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