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Valspar Invests $30M in Research Center

Friday, October 26, 2012

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Valspar’s past will house its future, as the company’s vintage former headquarters building is transformed into the new global hub of its R&D network.

The world’s sixth-largest paint and coating maker says it will invest $30 million to redevelop the new anchor for its Valspar Applied Science and Technology Centers (VAST)  from a century-old structure that the company vacated three years ago.

 Valspar Corp.’s $30 million expansion project at its downtown Minneapolis campus will create 135 full-time jobs, including high-paying material science positions.

 Photos: Valspar Corp.

Valspar's $30 million expansion at its downtown campus will create 135 full-time jobs.

The new facility will provide a “world-class environment for developing industry-leading coatings technologies and applications,” Valspar said in a statement.

‘Leadership in Coatings Innovation’

“Expanding our Minneapolis R&D center is a prime example of Valspar’s global leadership in coatings innovation and technology,” said Gary Hendrickson, chairman and CEO. “We will devote more resources toward developing differentiated coatings technologies to address the changing needs of our customers.”

The expansion will help scientists and researchers quickly and efficiently bring coating solutions to the market, Hendrickson said.

 Gary E. Hendrickson, Valspar chairman and CEO

CEO Gary E. Hendrickson said the new facility would address customers'  needs.

The new center will also enable Valspar to expand its partnerships with research institutions and universities, including the University of Minnesota, providing cooperative internships and equipment sharing, according to the company.

‘Deep History’

Establishing the expanded facility in Valspar’s old home seemed appropriate, officials said.

“We have the opportunity to restore a historic building that has a deep history with the city and with Valspar,” company spokesman Mark Goldman told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Once it's complete, we hope it helps to revitalize the whole area.”

 The company calls its Minneapolis campus the anchor of its global research and development network.
The company calls its Minneapolis campus the anchor of its global research and development network.

The project will create up to 135 full-time jobs over the next two years, including high-paying positions in material science, and add 87,000 square feet of laboratory, meeting and office space, the company said. Completion is expected in early 2014.

Dr. Cynthia Arnold, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Valspar, said the expanded campus “will enable research and development at the highest level as well as create the right environment for customer and supplier collaboration for new coatings technologies.”

The company recently opened a second flagship R&D facility in Guangzhou, China, and operates more than three dozen smaller laboratories around the world.

On a Roll

Valspar’s portfolio currently includes industrial, automotive, packaging, wood and high-performance architectural coatings; custom finishes; and coating intermediates.

The paint and coatings maker, founded in 1806, is having a good year, after finishing 2011 with a net loss of nearly $300 million, due to major impairment charges.

The first and second quarters were strong, while the third quarter ended with $1.08 billion in sales revenue, a 3 percent increase over the prior-year period.

The new center will position the company for a strong future, the company said:

“Together, these facilities enable Valspar’s research and development teams to drive the development of new products, solve customer and manufacturing challenges, develop polymers with unique performance and value, and establish new test protocols to ensure quality.”


Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Coatings technology; High-performance coatings; Jobs; Research; Valspar

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