The first of these major projects is a state of the art manufacturing facility that is to be constructed in the Bunardjick Technological and Industrial Development Zone, 15 kilometres from the Macedonian capital, Skopje. The new plant will be built to a modular design and the initial phase will incorporate highly automated production lines for both light duty diesel autocatalysts and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts for heavy duty diesel vehicles.
SCR utilises catalysts to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen, commonly referred to as NOx, from diesel vehicle exhaust. These systems also require a urea additive that is injected into the exhaust stream ahead of the SCR catalysts. SCR systems are extensively used on heavy duty diesel vehicles in Europe to meet the current Euro IV heavy duty diesel emissions standards that came into force in the European Union in October 2006 and demand is forecast to grow strongly over the next few years.
The initial investment in the Macedonian plant will be approximately £34 million (€48 million) and it will have capacity to produce 4 million catalysts per year.
The second new plant will be constructed on a site near the town of Smithfield in south west Pennsylvania and will be a dedicated facility to produce SCR catalysts for the North American market. Stricter US 2010 Heavy Duty Diesel emission standards come into force on 1st January 2010 and most manufacturers will use a combination of SCR, particulate filters and diesel oxidation catalysts to meet them. Johnson Matthey will have a leading share of this business. In addition, emission standards for light duty diesel vehicles in the US and legislation requiring catalysts on diesel non road mobile equipment such as construction and agricultural machinery that will be phased in between 2011 and 2014, will drive North American demand for SCR catalysts over the coming years.
Initial investment in the Smithfield facility will be £21 million (US$43 million). The plant, which will have capacity to produce over one million of these large, complex heavy duty diesel catalysts per year, will be highly automated and use Johnson Matthey's latest production technology from around the world.
Both the Macedonia and USA facilities are expected to commence operation by the end of 2009.
Commenting on these two major investments Neil Carson, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey, said: “I am delighted to announce these important additions to our global manufacturing infrastructure. Our long term commitment to R&D and to developing a full range of products for both heavy and light duty diesel emission control has placed us in a strong position in this rapidly growing market. Our new plants in Macedonia and in the USA will provide additional, state of the art manufacturing capacity to serve our customers in Europe and North America."