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Massachusetts Corporate Moves

Success for Socaplast and Solutia in Springfield

Socaplast, an international recycling business based in Belgium, recently teamed with Massachusetts’ Solutia, Inc. to create its new U.S. headquarters in Springfield, MA. Socaplast USA will invest $3.4 million in facilities and equipment and will create 15 permanent full-time jobs at its new space in Solutia’s business park. The company plans to begin operations in the middle of 2008.

Socaplast selected the Springfield site over other locations in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut because of its close proximity to Solutia. Socaplast is Solutia’s European supplier of PVB, a plastic used to make laminated glass. Solutia uses this material at its Indian Orchard, MA plant to manufacture an interlayer for automotive glass.

Socaplast has developed a technique to recycle PVB foil and trimmings discarded during the laminating process. The company plans to recycle PVB trims from the region’s NAFTA laminators, including Adams and Ruxton, TJ Conway, and Industrial Transfer.

“This newly acquired green credential will go a great distance as Springfield works toward an identification that is eco-friendly and nationally recognized,” says Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.

Raf van der Perre, CEO of Socaplast Belgium, says his company is eager to settle into its new Springfield offices. “It is important to us that Socaplast USA is part of the Springfield business community and contributes to the economic wealth of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” says van der Perre.

The Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council connected Socaplast with various state agencies to facilitate the expansion.

Liberty Gets Technical in Springfield

In April, Liberty Mutual Group began filling approximately 160 jobs at its new office in Springfield, MA, and the insurance company predicts up to 300 jobs may be created in the future.

Liberty Mutual signed a 10-year lease on 55,000 square feet of office space at the Springfield Technical Community College Park and plans to open the building in the third quarter of 2008. It will meet various needs, such as claims operations and legal administration, while also serving as a customer service call center. The new jobs will offer an average salary of $35,000, plus benefits.

Edmund Kelly, CEO and president of Liberty Mutual, says Springfield offers low costs and excellent highway access. “Massachusetts is not an expensive state in which to do business,” he adds, “if you stay outside of Route 495.”

Tech Fund Aids Expansion in Worcester

At the end of 2007, ECI Biotech received a $400,000 Emerging Technology Fund loan from MassDevelopment, a statewide development agency based in Boston. The company will use the funds to upgrade its current facility and purchase equipment for its new office and research/manufacturing facility in Worcester, MA. A former mill building once home to the Massachusetts Lottery, ECI Biotech’s new facility is in Worcester’s Gateway Park district, a commercial industrial development led by the Worcester Business Development Corporation and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and financed in part by MassDevelopment.

ECI Biotech leased 11,610 square feet of the former mill building, more than double the square footage of its current facility. The expansion will allow ECI Biotech to begin manufacturing biosensors for consumer and professional care diagnostics. The company now employs 14 people, up from only two employees nine years ago. It plans to hire an additional 22 workers over the next five years.

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