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Solenis plans $40 million R&D facility

DELAWARE (From news reports) -- A specialty chemical producer plans to build a $40 million research and development facility near Elsmere with the help of about $4 million in taxpayer money.

The state's Council on Development Finance agreed Monday to give Solenis grants for the creation of jobs ($552,000) and the construction of lab space ($3.5 million) at the new facility. The money comes from the Delaware Strategic Fund, a $35 million pool of state money given to companies relocating to or expanding in Delaware. It's Delaware's primary business incentive program.

Solenis will move its research and development from Ashland's campus off Hercules Road to the Chestnut Run Innovation and Science Park off Route 141. The new facility will be 100,000 square feet and feature about 20,000 square feet more lab space than the company currently has.

Within the next three years, Solenis plans to hire 46 people to work in Greenville, including lab technicians, scientists and research supervisors.

Solenis was formerly known as Ashland Water Technologies and consisted of the industrial water and the pulp and paper units of Ashland's business. Ashland sold the units to a private equity firm in 2014 for about $1.8 billion. The firm changed the name to Solenis, a combination of "solutions" and "genesis."

In 2015, the state committed more than $1 million to Solenis for the creation of around 120 positions. Three years later, Solenis received a $3.9 million state commitment to build a new headquarters and keep its staff in Delaware.

Solenis is headquartered at the Avenue North campus in Fairfax off Concord Pike. The company employs more than 300 workers in Delaware, including about 185 at the Avenue North headquarters and 140 that will eventually transition from the Ashland R&D site.

The new facility will be one of the first in the former DuPont campus being redeveloped by Pennsylvania developer MRA Group.

Solenis has a presence in several water-intensive industries, including the pulp, packaging paper and board, tissue and towel, oil and gas, petroleum refining, chemical processing, mining, biorefining, power, municipal, and pool and spa markets.


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