Sigma-Aldrich to invest in China to support SAFC growth

US-based Sigma-Aldrich is in final negotiations to buy land in the Wuxi - New District Park (WND), located northwest of Shanghai, China, for its new Asia-Pacific manufacturing hub.

US-based Sigma-Aldrich is in final negotiations to buy land in the Wuxi - New District Park (WND), located northwest of Shanghai, China, for its new Asia-Pacific manufacturing hub.

The site is to be developed in three phases. Sigma-Aldrich expects to invest US$25m (Euro 18m) to acquire land rights and construct its first phase that includes a large-scale, non cGMP, multi-purpose organic manufacturing facility dedicated to supporting its SAFC fine chemicals business unit.

According to Ed Roullard, vice president of SAFC Supply Solutions, the investment could double over the next two or three years as phases 2 and 3 get underway.

Sigma-Aldrich plans to commence construction of the new plant by year-end 2007. When fully developed the site is expected to produce raw materials, key intermediates and final products in support of SAFC's Pharma, Hitech and Supply Solutions businesses through a manufacturing plant, and analytical, packaging and warehousing facilities.

Construction time is expected to be around nine months, with the non-GMP multipurpose plant completed by 2009, according to Roullard. He said that Wuxi had been chosen for SAFC's entry into the Asia Pacific region because it offered a strong customer base and a strong infrastucture. The build cost would be approximately half that of a similar plant in the US or Europe and the plant would benefit from lower labour costs. However, QA and QC standards would be the same as in SAFC's US and European plants, Roullard stressed.

Future development phases at the site will also support Sigma-Aldrich's Research Essentials and Research Specialties business units and will include the extension of analytical, packaging and warehousing facilities for its research-based business.

"The addition of our facility in China will add essential capacity to service growing demand for SAFC products," said SAFC president Frank Wicks. "In particular, the combination of products manufactured in China and at our European and US sites is expected to provide us with an unparalleled competitive offering to customers across all businesses."

The development of the new China campus complements Sigma-Aldrich's state-of-the- art Bangalore, India facility, which commenced production in October, 2006. Representing an investment of $12m (€8.7m), the 139,000ft2 India site supports customers with the manufacture of small-scale, key intermediates for medicinal chemistry.

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