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Ashland plans to spend $89 million over the next three years to expand output of two cellulose-based polymers at its Hopewell, Va., site. Beginning this summer, the firm will start work to add 4,700 metric tons of annual capacity for hydroxyethyl cellulose. The expansion marks a 40% increase in capacity at Hopewell for the polymer, which is used as a thickener for latex paints. The firm will also add an undisclosed amount of capacity for hydroxypropyl cellulose, used as a pharmaceutical tablet binder. The capacity increases will meet growing customer demand, Ashland says.
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