At a ceremony held yesterday in Royston, UK, Johnson Matthey signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with senior representatives of Gyeonggi province, Republic of Korea, to secure a green field site as the first step in a multi-million pound investment in Korea. The site is located in a new high technology science park near Jangan in Gyeonggi province, 50 kilometres south west of Seoul.
Over the last decade Korea has emerged as a leading player in the global automotive industry and Johnson Matthey plans to build a plant to manufacture emission control catalysts for a wide range of both diesel and petrol powered vehicles. The new facility will also carry out research and development activities and will include vehicle and engine emission test capabilities to support the Korean motor industry.
The MOU was signed by Larry Pentz, Executive Director, Environmental Catalysts and Technologies and Sohn, Hak-Kyu, the Governor of Gyeonggi province. The signing ceremony was also attended by other senior representatives of Gyeonggi province, the Korean Embassy in London and KOTRA, the Korean Trade – Investment Promotion Agency. Following the signing ceremony, the Korean delegation was given a tour of Johnson Matthey’s European Autocatalyst Technology Centre and of the extensive emission control catalyst production facilities on the Royston site.
Commenting on Johnson Matthey’s investment plans, Larry Pentz said “We recognise the growing importance of the Korean automotive industry and its strategic position in the global vehicle market. Furthermore, we expect Korea to be one of Asia’s most important markets for heavy duty diesel catalysts as emission standards continue to tighten throughout the region. We feel the time is right to invest in Korea and are very pleased with our relationship with Gyeonggi province; it is the perfect location for us to establish a major presence is this key market. We are honoured that the Governor Sohn and his delegation were able to visit us today”
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Governor Sohn said: “We are delighted that Johnson Matthey has selected Gyeonggi province for this important investment. It is our aim to attract high technology companies, with progressive, long-term plans to establish R&D and manufacturing facilities in our province in order to serve Korea and the Asia region. We look forward to the next phase of this investment”
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About Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey is a speciality chemicals company focused on its core skills in catalysts, precious metals and fine chemicals.
The group's principal activities are the manufacture of autocatalysts and pollution control systems, catalysts and components for fuel cells, pharmaceutical compounds, process catalysts and fine chemicals; the refining, fabrication and marketing of precious metals; and the manufacture of colours and coatings for the glass and ceramics industries.
Johnson Matthey has continued to develop its technology for almost 200 years, demonstrating the company's ability to maintain world leadership by adapting constantly to rapidly changing customer needs. Rigorous in its own environmental policies, many of Johnson Matthey's products have a major beneficial impact on the environment and enhance the quality of life for millions around the world.
Johnson Matthey has operations in 34 countries and employs around 7,400 people. Its products are sold across the world to a wide range of advanced technology industries.
The company’s Catalysts Division operates globally under the market identity of Johnson Matthey Catalysts and consists of 3 separate business units. Environmental Catalysts and Technologies (ECT), which manufactures catalysts for automobile emission control and the reduction of emissions from industrial processes, the Fuel Cell business which manufactures fuel cell catalysts and catalysed components and the Process Catalysts and Technologies (PCT) business comprising PGM refining, process catalysts and fine and research chemicals.
ECT comprises Johnson Matthey’s global autocatalyst, heavy duty diesel and stationary source emissions control businesses. The company is a world leading manufacturer of catalysts for vehicle exhaust emission control and a leader in catalyst systems for the reduction of volatile organic compound emissions from industrial processes. Manufacturing facilities are located in the USA, UK, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Japan, Malaysia, India and China. R&D facilities are in the USA, UK, Sweden, Japan and Brazil.
About the Korean Motor Industry
Korea has been producing automobiles since the mid 1950’s but the Korean motor industry has grown rapidly over the last two decades. Today Korea is the world’s 6th largest car manufacturing nation, producing nearly 3.5 million vehicles in 2004. This represents 5.4% of total world car production and Korea is challenging France for 5th place. Almost 2.4 million of these vehicles were exported to markets around the world. Automobiles have been Korea’s biggest export since 2001, ahead of semiconductors, mobile phones, computers and shipbuilding.
Korea plans to become the world’s fourth largest car producer, with a target of manufacturing 10% of all the cars produced each year by 2012. Korean car companies have established manufacturing operations around the world with facilities in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, China and many other parts of Asia as well as in North and South America.
Through initiatives such as its “Future Automobile Development Project” the Korean motor industry is committed to developing the next generations of safe, environmentally friendly cars. These include the development of environmentally friendly diesel engines and hybrid vehicles and, in the longer term, fuel cell powered cars.