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Wacker Chemie AG is strategically expanding its presence in the Middle and South American growth region. Consequently, the Munich-based chemical company is extending its existing technical center in São Paulo, Brazil, and creating a new technical center in Mexico City, Mexico. At the same time, the Group’s international training center  the WACKER ACADEMY – will also be expanded at the former site, and a new one opened at the latter. The company is thereby meeting its customers’ needs in the strongly growing markets of the region and increasing its local expertise in research, development and applications technology. Both projects are scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2013. For this purpose, WACKER is investing €1.2 million.

“Middle and South America are key future markets for WACKER. Our sales in these regions have grown by an annual average of 15% over the past five years,” explained President & CEO Dr. Rudolf Staudigl. “Increasing demand for state-of-the-art, high quality solutions leads us to expect continued growth rates for our silicone and polymer businesses in the years to come. We meet our customers’ growing demand by enhancing our local services,” said Staudigl on the expansion of activities in Middle and South America.

In Brazil, the Group is enlarging its technical center in Jandira near São Paulo. This center has been supporting customers in the development of new products and applications since 2003, taking local raw materials and environmental conditions into consideration. The expansion focuses mainly on the labs for dispersible polymer powders, which are used in dry-mix mortars for concrete applications, tile adhesives and sealing slurries, for example. The test area for polymer binders available at the technical center will more than triple in size and the new labs will get state-of-the-art testing equipment in line with international standards. In addition, the WACKER ACADEMY training center will be equipped with a new, larger training lab, which will allow participants to carry out extensive practical tests.

In Mexico, too, polymer binders are the focal point of the new technical center that WACKER is currently building in the southwest of Mexico’s capital. The reason for this is the strong growth of the regional economy, especially of the construction and paint industries. Covering an area of over 800 m², the facility will house the new offices of the local sales subsidiary Wacker Mexicana S.A. and the R&D labs for dispersible polymer powders and vinyl acetateethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions. These binders find application in paints, coatings and adhesives. Due to the rising number of training inquiries from the region, a training center for the Spanish-speaking market will be created with the WACKER ACADEMY Mexico. Bundling sales, applications laboratories and the training center under one roof will foster closer teamwork between the sales and development teams and thus optimize customer support in the region.

Both the expansion of the technical center in Brazil and the opening of a new one in Mexico are scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2013. In the future, the technical center in Mexico will support customers from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the Caribbean, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia. The technical center in Brazil will con-tinue as the South American hub for customers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. WACKER is already among the top four silicone suppliers in Middle and South America and among the leading manufacturers of dispersible polymer powders and VAE dis-persions in the region.

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