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Bluestar Silicones celebrated its 10th anniversary  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lyon,France - On February 16th, Bluestar Silicones celebrated 10 years within the Chinese group Bluestar, subsidiary of ChemChina, and 60 years of producing silicone in the iconic plant of Saint Fons. Frédéric Jacquin, Bluestar Silicones CEO, inaugurated the Elastomer production workshop, an investment of 15 million euros, under the sponsorship of Mr Ren Jianxin, President of the ChemChina Group, in the presence of Michel Delpuech, Prefect of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Prefect of the Rhône, and Gérard Collomb, Senator-Mayor of Lyon, Président of the metropolitan city of Lyon, as well as all of Bluestar Silicones’ stakeholders. Created in 2007, following the acquisition of Rhodia Silicones by China National Bluestar Corporation (ChemChina subsidiary), Bluestar Silicones is one of the main producer of silicones worldwide. The Bluestar Group’s subsidiary is completely integrated within the whole silicone value chain, from quartz to silicon up to specialty silicones for such as medical, energy and transportation. In 10 years, this Sino-French collaboration, has successfully energized this silicon activity, driven by high growth and very demanding markets in terms of investments in the industry, R&D, or operational excellence. The French expertise brought its technology and knowledge on specialty activities, the Chinese expertise its capacity, long term industrial vision and global growth strategy in China as well as traditional Bluestar Silicones locations, such as Europe. It has been reinforced in 2011 by an upstream integration and industrial synergies with the arrival of Elkem, global leader in silicon. In practical terms, tens of million euros have been invested every year in the industrial facilities, especially in France and China, qualified jobs have been created and preserved, and the R&D has been strengthened. « A lot of people were wondering about our future after our company was bought by a state owned Chinese group, less known in 2007. Today, no one doubts the mutual interest of this association. The industrial vision of our Chinese Shareholder, reinforced by our upstream integration with the Norwegian Group Elkem and the French creativity, are why we have the ambition to reach the top 3 of global silicon leaders” declared Fréréric Jacquin, Bluestar Silicones CEO. Through its two French subsidiaries, Adisseo and Bluestar Silicones, the Bluestar Group employs directly almost 2000 people in France, half of them in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The strong connection that exists between the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the city of Lyon, China and the ChemChina-Bluestar group, have played a great role in this win-win partnership. Fine example of an industry that challenged itself in innovation and new products developments, Bluestar Silicones, major actor in silicone making, invested 15 million euros in 2016 in its elastomer unit on the historic Saint Fons plant. Most of this investment was dedicated to building a new production workshop in performance elastomers, with the first part being operational since September 2016. Focusing primarily on improving productivity and reinforcing the quality level of Bluestar silicones’ elastomers, this workshop allows a greater production capacity, increased by 50% and provides to higher value-added market such as medical, food and beverages, aeronautics… Furthermore, the high end technologies brought by this investment, especially the automation of operations, also allow a great improvement of working conditions for Bluestar Silicones employees. - * Email

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ExxonMobil breaks ground on multi-million dollar Shanghai Technology Center expansion  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shanghai, China - ExxonMobil announced the start of construction on a multi-million dollar expansion of its Shanghai Technology Center. The announcement was made during a groundbreaking ceremony attended by ExxonMobil management, strategic performance polymers and lubricant customers, local officials and employees. The expansion includes a new, state-of-the-art research and development facility to support customer collaboration and growth. “Asia, and in particular China, represents a strategic growth region for us,” said Cindy Shulman, vice president of plastics and resins, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Having dedicated facilities where we can collaborate with our customers on the next generation of affordable, safe and sustainable performance applications is essential to creating innovations for packaging, automobiles, building and construction, and consumer goods that enhance people’s lives everywhere.” Opened in 2011, the Shanghai Technology Center is a 27,000-square meter, full-service customer support center. It houses advanced analytical and testing laboratory equipment, commercial-scale product processing equipment for blown film extrusion, injection molding, profile extrusion and compounding, as well as tire testing capabilities. A state-of-the-art 7-layer cast film line is being added soon. The center also supports ExxonMobil’s lubricants business through a combination of technical services, applications expertise, collaborative programs, training and marketing support. “With our Asia Products Technology Center already in China, the new facility is a strong addition to ExxonMobil’s global lubes technology network and helps us better serve our customers in the region,” said Teoh Song-Ping, director of ExxonMobil’s Asia Pacific lubricants sales. “This new facility provides us with the resources necessary for deeper collaboration with original equipment manufacturers across automotive and industrial sectors. Ultimately, this collaboration results in tangible benefits to our common customers and consumers.” The new facility, expected to be completed in early 2018, will include a large, multi-functional auditorium, training rooms and multiple meeting areas. The auditorium will also have its own dedicated reception area showcasing ExxonMobil’s technology capabilities and leadership. “Our global reach and expertise in end-use application technologies enable us to tailor innovative solutions that allow our customers to realize the full value of our products,” said Dominic Clausi, vice president of global technology, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “The new facility will play an important role in helping us add value to our customers’ growth and success.” - * Email

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Goodyear reveals plans for arrival of next generation blimp in 2017  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Carson, CA - The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company revealed plans for major facilities upgrades at its Airship Operations base in Carson, CA, renewing its commitment to the Goodyear Blimp's presence in the Los Angeles area. The improvements will include an inflatable hangar for the new Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two, which is scheduled to arrive in Southern California by the end of the year. The company has flown its iconic blimps for more than 90 years and has operated its base in Carson since 1968. Since 2014, Goodyear has been transitioning from its 1970’s-era GZ model blimps to a new state-of-the-art fleet of blimps. The new blimps feature an entirely new design with capabilities including faster speeds, quieter engines, advanced on-board avionics and larger passenger capacity. Wingfoot One (christened in 2014) and Wingfoot Two (2016), currently operate in Florida and Ohio. Wingfoot Two will replace the Spirit of Innovation (2006), which is scheduled to retire in March. “At Goodyear, we honor tradition and drive toward innovation,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, Global Communications. “We are proud to usher in this new era of our world-renowned brand icon and look forward to operating the new blimp in our Carson base.” New Facilities to Meet Needs of Modern Blimp The new hangar will be the first on the Carson airship base, which Goodyear opened in 1968. The hangar will be built out of 73 miles of partially translucent polyester fabric and will be almost nine-stories tall and longer than a football field. Construction of the hangar is expected to be completed in seven months and erected on the property in July. Additional facilities updates will include an enlarged mooring circle for ground handling, a new masting system, plus a new maintenance building. - * Email

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announces a quarterly dividend and share repurchase program  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Finlay, OH - Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announced a quarterly dividend of 10.5 cents per share on common stock, payable March 31, 2017 to stockholders of record at the close of business March 2, 2017. This will mark the 180th consecutive quarterly dividend paid by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. Cooper Tire also announced that its Board of Directors has increased and extended its share repurchase program by authorizing the repurchase of up to $300 million of the company’s outstanding common stock through Dec. 31, 2019. “The consistent execution of our strategic plan and the structural improvement of our business model over the past several years have put Cooper in a very strong financial position, and we continue to deliver on opportunities to profitably grow our business,” said Brad Hughes, President & Chief Executive Officer. “Our increased and extended share repurchase program demonstrates our confidence in the Cooper business model and our commitment to continuing to deliver value to shareholders. It also represents a key component of our balanced approach to capital allocation as we plan to continue to invest in our business, opportunistically pursue value enhancing acquisitions and partnerships, and return capital to shareholders.” The $300 million authorization replaces the $98 million remaining on the authorization from February 2016, as of Feb. 14, 2017. The increased authorization is approximately 15 percent of the current market capitalization. Shares will be purchased from time to time based on market conditions and will be executed through open market purchases, privately negotiated purchases, and other means. All or part of the repurchases may be implemented under Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, which allow repurchases under preset terms when the company might otherwise be prevented from doing so. The repurchased shares will be held in Treasury and used for general corporate purposes. Since the company began repurchasing shares in August 2014 through Feb. 14, 2017, Cooper has repurchased approximately 12.6 million shares at an average price of $34.15, which amounts to 20 percent of the outstanding shares as of August 2014. As of Feb. 14, 2017, Cooper had approximately 52.7 million outstanding common shares. - * Email

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