W.R. Grace Opens New Facilities in Latin America

Part of the company's strategy to invest in emerging markets

Grace Construction Products, an operating segment of W.R. Grace & Co., recently opened new manufacturing facilities in Cartagena, Colombia, and Panama City, Panama.

Both facilities will manufacture cement additives and concrete admixtures, serving customers in Colombia, Panama and throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The facilities also will house sales and technical service offices, as well as quality-control laboratories, according to the company.

The facilities are the latest in a series of emerging-market investments for W.R. Grace in the construction industry. In 2010, the company opened new manufacturing sites in Hai Duong, Vietnam; Chongqing, China; and Dammam, Saudi Arabia; and acquired manufacturing facilities in Wuhan, China.

"We continue to invest in emerging economies to capitalize on double-digit industry growth rates," said Fred Festa, chairman, president and CEO of Columbia, Md.-based W.R. Grace. "Through the opening of plants like the ones in Panama City and Cartagena, we are leveraging our deep industry knowledge and product innovation to build new long-term customer relationships."

In 2010, W.R. Grace's sales from emerging regions (as defined by the International Monetary Fund) were 33% of the company's total revenue, an increase from 29% in 2009, according to the company.

W.R. Grace entered the Colombian market in 1972 with a sales office. In 1988, the company opened a manufacturing facility in Bogota, where Grace's other operating segment, Grace Davison, manufactures plastisols, lubricants, thinners and coatings.

Grace's Panamanian subsidiary was founded in 2010.

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