Friday, June 29, 2012

Dow Chemical moving research to Collegeville

"Taking advantage of vacated drug-research labs and offices about 15 miles away, Dow Chemical Co. will relocate 800 employees in its Spring House campus in Montgomery County to a Pfizer facility in Collegeville.

The plans had been rumored for months, and employees will begin moving in January. Dow, based in Midland, Mich., purchased Rohm & Haas in a highly contentious deal in the midst of the financial crisis of 2009. Rohm & Haas' research labs had been based in Spring House since 1963.
Dow has no current plans to add jobs to the research operation, which is now part of its Advanced Materials division. But Dow indicated Thursday that the new facility would provide room for expansion. Advanced Materials is leasing 750,000 square feet in Collegeville. Pfizer, a global drug company, is maintaining operations in some parts of the facility.
"This strategy bolsters our company's long-standing commitment to Pennsylvania by putting our R&D operations on a long-term path forward," said Jerome Peribere, executive vice president at Dow and chief executive officer of Advanced Materials, which is based in Philadelphia.
The Spring House facility has developed paints, coatings, laundry detergents, water-purification products, shampoo, and conditioners.
Dow chief executive officer Andrew N. Liveris said the Pfizer facility was a "premier new location" and would provide Dow's "world-class researchers with a new collaborative and innovation-centric space."
Advanced Materials spokeswoman Lindsay Torriero said the division's headquarters employees would remain in the former Rohm & Haas headquarters on Independence Mall, a building with gracious Plexiglas chandeliers in its lobby. Rohm & Haas commercialized Plexiglas.
Dow considered several options for its research operation in the Philadelphia area, including modernizing Spring House, Torriero said.
A commodity-based chemical-manufacturing company, Dow has told financial analysts that Rohm & Haas would allow it to develop higher-margin specialty chemicals. Torriero described the Collegeville lease as "long term," but did not disclose the number of years."

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