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Chemical company FMC Corporation (FMC - Analyst Report) has broken ground on its new state-of-the-art microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) manufacturing plant in Thailand. The new facility in Rayong is its third MCC manufacturing plant. The company has already completed expansion at its BioPolymer MCC sites in Del., U.S., and Cork, Ireland.  
 
FMC Corp. is investing over $100 million in the Rayong facility which will supply its industry-leading MCC products to fast-growing markets in Asia. The facility will help the company address the increasing demand for innovative food and beverage products in the continent. The Rayong facility is expected to boost FMC Corp.’s worldwide MCC capacity for the food industry by 35%. 
 
The Thailand facility will be fully integrated with MCC production, blending, packaging and warehousing and will initially produce colloidal MCC, a key ingredient in food and beverages. The facility has been designed for future expansion and manufacture of different products for both the food and pharmaceutical markets. 
 
The Thailand facility will also incorporate FMC Corp.’s safety and environmental protection standard. The plant is expected to go on stream in late 2014.
 
FMC Corp. is a leading diversified chemical company that serves agricultural, industrial, environmental and consumer markets across the globe. It is a leading maker of Lithium-based materials for primary and rechargeable batteries used in laptops, cellular phones and electric cars.
 
FMC Corp., in Feb 2013, reported its fourth-quarter 2012 results. Its adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share matched the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Reported profit jumped 31% year over year on a strong performance of the company’s core Agricultural Products segment. Revenues climbed 10% year over year to $1 billion and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $993 million.
 
FMC Corp. currently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
 
Other companies in the chemical industry worth considering are Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY), Axiall Corporation (AXLL - Snapshot Report) and LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB - Snapshot Report). All of them hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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