Updated March 25 at 6:25am

Umicore to announce Providence factory expansion, 100 new jobs


PROVIDENCE – Belgium-based thin-film manufacturer Umicore S.A. is set to announce Friday a multi-million-dollar expansion at its Providence factory that the company says will lead to 100 new jobs.

Umicore CEO Marc Grynberg will announce the expansion and the new round of hiring at a morning press conference with Mayor David N. Cicilline, who is the midst of running for Congress.

Among other things, the international company, which employs about 14,000 worldwide and 540 in the United States, produces thin-film products that are used in solar power cells and LCD screens.

On Thursday, Umicore said from Brussels that it intends to invest 30 million euros ($42.19 million) over three years to expand its worldwide production capacity to meet a growing demand for “photovoltaic and display markets.”

That expansion would include “new test development facilities in Balzers [Liechtenstein] and Providence,” a company statement said.

Umicore had considered moving its Providence operations on Sims Street in the Valley neighborhood to Oklahoma, according the mayor’s office. An Umicore spokesman declined to comment Thursday about the “speculation” that the company contemplated moving.

Umicore did not immediately say how many work at the Providence location but a R.I. Economic Development Corporation 2008 listing of the state’s top employers placed the Umicore’s headcount at 80.

The company spokesman told Providence Business News Thursday that Umicore has operated the Providence factory since it was acquired from Liechtenstein-based Unaxis in 2002.

Providence is “an integral part of our [thin-film products] business,” spokesman Bart Crols said in a e-mail message Thursday.


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