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Specialty chemical company relocates to Sanofi site in Bridgewater

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    A specialty chemical company is keeping a fast-growing business unit in New Jersey, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said Monday.

    The specialty chemical company Ashland Inc. will move its specialty ingredients unit from its Wayne location to a new 200,000-square-foot laboratory and office space in Bridgewater later this year. About 60 percent of the company’s 300 Wayne employees will make the move, with the remaining 40 percent moving to a yet-to-be-determined temporary location in northern New Jersey.

    Ashland’s new Bridgewater site is owned by Sanofi U.S. Sanofi announced in 2011 it would close a research facility in Bridgewater and relocate the jobs to Massachusetts as part of a company-wide reorganization. l

    Guadagno said Ashland had been considering moving its specialty ingredients business out of state, prompting intervention from the New Jersey Partnership for Action, which is comprised of the state’s Business Action Center, Economic Development Authority, and Choose New Jersey.

    “Nowhere in America is there such access to highly skilled and educated workers, the very workers critical to the success of technology and science companies, than right here in New Jersey,” Guadagno said, in a press release.

    She said Ashland’s decision demonstrates that New Jersey is “the ideal location for business.”

    John Panichella, president of Ashland Specialty Ingredients, said the company received “tremendous support” from the state when evaluating potential relocation sites.

    “The state of New Jersey has demonstrated its sincere commitment to working with Ashland as we pursue growth opportunities within our Specialty Ingredients business,” Panichella said, in a press release.

    Ashland spokesman Gary L. Rhodes said in an email that the relocation had been planned ever since the Covington, Ky.-based company purchased International Specialty Products in August 2011. The Wayne site had served as ISP’s headquarters.

    “At that time, we had shared with employees our intent to eventually relocate operations from the current space, where our lease expires this year, to a new site that will help establish a strong, independent Ashland business and brand identity separate from the historical presence of ISP operations and ownership,” Rhodes said, in an email.

    The first employees to move to Bridgewater work in areas such as research and development, marketing, commercial business, and administration, Rhodes said.

    The remaining 40 percent of employees – generally finance, human resources, law and information technology staffers - will move to a temporary northern New Jersey site in order to “reduce operational disruption to the other groups that are working closely on the final pieces of the ISP integration,” Rhodes said.

    Those workers will eventually move to Bridgewater, once the yet-to-be-signed short-term lease expires.

    Rhodes said the Bridgewater location has flexibility to expand, which was important because the specialty ingredients business unit is one of Ashland’s fastest-growing units. He said it’s also close to many of the company’s customers, particularly in the pharmaceutical and personal care markets.

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