By St. Louis Business Journal

Solutia Inc. plans to expand its operations in China with a new building that will house several production lines for solar materials.

The first production line for the companyâ¿¿s Vistasolar ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) encapsulant at its Suzhou, China, factory is scheduled to be completed by June 2011.

Such an expansion positions Solutia to meet the growing needs of the global renewable energy market, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Jeffry Quinn said in a statement.

Chinese demand for these solar encapsulants is projected to almost triple by 2015 from its 2009 levels, according to a Solarbuzz industry report, Marketbuzz 2010.

Solutiaâ¿¿s Suzhou plant currently serves as a manufacturing site for Solutiaâ¿¿s Saflex polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers for laminated glass.

In June, Solutia wrapped its $294 million acquisition of Etimex Solar GmbH, a Germany-based company that supplies solar products.

Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed a Solutia subsidiaryâ¿¿s 2005 patent infringement lawsuit against Chinese and South Korean companies that alleged patent infringement of the St. Louis-based firmâ¿¿s method for producing a chemical used in tires.

St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. (NYSE: SOA) develops specialty chemicals, fibers, fluids and other performance products for the auto and construction industries. It reported sales of $1.7 billion in 2009.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

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