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Auto-emission catalysts to be produced in Thailand

19 Febuary 1997

Iselin, NJ—Engelhard Corporation announced today that it has formed a joint venture with its Japanese affiliate, N.E. Chemcat Corporation of Tokyo, to manufacture auto-emission catalysts in Thailand for sale throughout Southeast Asia.

Engelhard owns 60% of the new company, called Engelhard Chemcat (Thailand) Ltd., and N.E. Chemcat owns the remaining 40%. The joint venture plans to build a manufacturing plant south of Bangkok in the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate at Rayong.

Thailand, already a high-growth market for automobiles, is rapidly becoming the leading manufacturing center in Southeast Asia for cars and light-duty, pick-up trucks. Production in Thailand is projected to grow to 1.2 million vehicles by the year 2000 from 550,000 in 1995. Vehicle sales in Thailand tripled between 1989 and 1995 reaching 570,000, and is projected to top the one-million mark by 2000. Thailand today represents the second largest market for pick-up trucks only behind the United States.

The auto-emission catalyst market is projected to grow at the same rate as automobile production. The equivalent of Euro I standards, first-phase auto-emission control regulations developed by the European Community, are already in place in Thailand, and the more stringent Euro II standards are slated for adoption later this year.

Other countries in the region are expected to follow suit in time. Those countries are part of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) trading alliance, which, in addition to Thailand, includes: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, with Laos, Cambodia and Mayanmar (Burma) holding "observer" status, a prelude to full membership.

"This alliance is in keeping with Engelhard's strategy to strengthen our number one, worldwide market share position in auto-emission catalysts and systems by capitalizing on emerging Asia Pacific markets," said Ed Stanczak, vice president of Engelhard's Automotive Emission Systems business. "The new catalyst plant in Thailand will enable us to better serve the growing demand generated by our customers' expansion in the region."

Engelhard owns 38.8% of N.E. Chemcat, a publicly traded Japanese corporation and a leading producer of automotive and chemical catalysts, electronic chemicals and other precious metals based products.

Engelhard is a provider of environmental technologies, specialty chemical products, engineered materials and related services.