Akzo Nobel Invests in UK Innovation Hub
In what was called a vote of confidence for a post-Brexit Britain, Dutch chemicals and coatings group AkzoNobel said it plans to spend €12.6 million on a new research and innovation hub at is site in Felling, northeast UK.
Best known for its Dulux and Hammerite paint brands, the company also makes specialist coatings for the energy, mining and infrastructure industries. The main focus of the additional research facility will be on developing innovative and efficient products for protecting steel and concrete structures from corrosion, abrasion and fire. The hub will also house a testing and simulation facility that can replicate the world’s most extreme environments.
Conrad Keijzer, AkzoNobel’s executive committee member responsible for performance coatings, said more than 100 scientists and technical experts will be working on future protective solutions for a wide variety of customers’ products.
AkzoNobel said Felling is the “logical spot” for this investment. CEO Ton Büchner told BBC News that the vote for Brexit is not an obstacle to further investment in the UK, while also noting that the fall in the value of the British pound actually made it easier for exporting.
Greg Clark, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, added that AkzoNobel’s significant investment is “further proof that Britain is open for business and underlines the growth we want to see and support in our local economies”
The Netherlands-based group is also close to starting production at a €110 million Dulux paint plant in Ashington, UK.