March 7, 2008 --/DARMSTADT, GERMANY/ -- Merck KGaA announces that it is investing EUR 47 million in a new research and development center to be built at the Darmstadt site for the chemicals business sector. This is the largest single investment to date in chemicals research and development. Construction will begin in June 2008 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
"Innovations introduced to the market quickly and efficiently are a key driver for the growth we are aiming for in our successful specialty chemicals business," says Walter W. Zywottek, member of the executive board with responsibility for the chemicals business sector. "This investment is a further step toward expanding our competence as a leading supplier of technologically sophisticated and innovative products and solutions in specialty chemicals."
Dr. Thomas Geelhaar, chief technology officer of the chemicals business sector adds, "The new research and development center will concentrate key activities under one roof, thus achieving significant process improvements and synergies in a high-tech environment."
Most of the key R&D activities of the chemicals business sector and the approximately 340 employees involved in these activities will be located in the center, which will consist of three laboratory and pilot-plant buildings. The activities to be housed in the new facility include the research departments of the Liquid Crystals division currently located at sites in Darmstadt, Frankfurt, and Mainz, as well as R&D activities of the Performance & Life Science Chemicals division. In addition, the Business Development Chemicals activities will move into the new R&D center. Corresponding central support and logistics functions will also be added.