AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands - AkzoNobel opened a EUR 7 million state-of-the-art fire protection laboratory at its Felling site in the UK, part of a major EUR 10 million investment in research, development and innovation (RD&I), which will create around 40 new jobs. The lab will be operated by the company's Marine and Protective Coatings business, which is a leading supplier of fire protection coatings used to protect steel structures such as buildings and oil and gas installations. The global market is growing rapidly due to increasingly stringent fire-protection regulations worldwide, with forecasters expecting demand to double by 2018.

The new facility is the latest in a series of RD&I investments by AkzoNobel at the Felling site, which employs more than 950 people. Earlier this year, a EUR 2 million lab for powder coatings polymer research and a EUR 1.4 million corporate research laboratory were inaugurated at the location.