Rhodia Inaugurates U.S. Expansion in Silica

Lyon, France and Chicago Heights, IL (USA) ---- November 9, 2011 ---- Inventor and worldwide leader of highly dispersible silica, Rhodia inaugurated its expansion of highly dispersible silica production at its Chicago Heights, IL site (United States) today, furthering its commitment to support the future growth of its customers. The expansion of 16,000 tons increases Rhodia’s North American capacity by 33 percent. The ribbon-cutting ceremony included customers, key business partners, and public officials.

"One year after commissioning our new plant in Qingdao, China, this additional increase in production capacity confirms our continued commitment to leadership in highly dispersible silica," commented Tom Benner, president of Silica. "We are also in the construction phase of a similar expansion at Collonges au Mont d'Or, France that will be completed in 2012.

Combined,” he explained, “these three latest investments increase our global capacity of highly dispersible silica over 40 percent, ensuring that we are prepared now to meet long-term growth expectations associated with demand for fuel-saving tires.”

Our teams are extremely committed to deliver value to our customers in the tire and automotive sectors in their quest for sustainable solutions to end consumers’’, added Mike Quinn, general manager for Rhodia Silica in North America.

The Chicago Heights site, located south of Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1995, is one of eight Rhodia sites producing highly dispersible silica at the highest quality standard for fuel-saving tires, battery separators, and other key markets.

The inauguration was also an opportunity to show a new environmentally engineered greenhouse conference room and surrounding terrace at the site that was designed and developed in partnership with local students from Garfield Elementary School. ‘Rhodia maintains a strong commitment to the local communities in which we operate as well as to sustainable development. I am extremely proud of how we work with our community partners here in Chicago Heights. This new greenhouse space is a key example.’ said Jim Harton, president of Rhodia in North America.

About Rhodia
Rhodia, member of the Solvay group, is a specialty chemical company resolutely committed to sustainable development. As a leader in its businesses, the Group aims to improve its customers’ performance through the pursuit of operational excellence and its ability to innovate. Structured around 11 Global Business Units, Rhodia is the partner of major players in the automotive, electronics, flavors and fragrances, health, personal and home care markets, consumer goods and industrial markets. Rhodia employs around  14 000 people worldwide and generated sales of €5.23 billion in 2010.
Rhodia Silica is the inventor and leading global provider of highly dispersible silica, which finds its main application in the production of fuel-saving tires. Rhodia’s silica is also used in a wide range of other key markets such as industrial applications, personal care and nutrition.

Rhodia Silica :
Vincent Rollier    
+33 (0)4 37 91 81 13  

Rhodia North America:
David Klucsik