BASF Surface Treatment unit Chemetall has opened a new Global Aluminium Competence Centre in Giussano, Italy.

The new centre brings together Chemetall’s “comprehensive competencies in the area of surface treatment in aluminium”, including research and development activities.

“The new global Aluminium Competence Centre will allow us to bring new surface treatment to the market faster,” said Frank Naber, senior vice-president of Chemetall. “The centralisation of our research and development activities for aluminium will result in pioneering technologies that solve the challenges of our global customers, provide solutions for their needs, and most of all deliver long-lasting, sustainable value.”

Italy is one of the largest EU markets with a strong manufacturing base. According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in the country reached $19.9bn (€18.53bn), which was surprising after it recorded a disinvestment of $9bn that same year, predominantly as a result of the Covid pandemic.

The service sector came out on top, accounting for 60.1% of the total inward FDI stock in 2021. Manufacturing came second (29.1%), while FDI in mining and quarrying and agriculture stood at 0.6% and 0.4% in 2021, respectively. Northern and central Italy generated more than three-quarters (77.6%) of the country’s gross domestic product in 2021, while in 2022, it was home to only 66.2% of the country’s population.

Aluminium is the world’s most used non-ferrous metal and is widely used in the production of many consumer goods including cans and kitchen foil.

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For BASF, the recent investment in Italy comes on the back of other investments announced across Europe and Asia. In September 2023, the German chemicals giant announced plans to double its production capacity for acrylic acid-based, water-soluble dispersants at its site in Dilovasi, north-west Turkey.

Speaking about the new Aluminium Competence Centre at Giussano, Daniela Polzot, managing director of Chemetall Italy, said: “We are very proud to play a key role in the research and development for our global aluminium business in Giussano. Our team has great expertise in development and application technologies and has achieved remarkable success in areas such as neutral cleaners and plastic recycling.

“In close collaboration with our global technology teams and through partnerships with universities and research communities, we will provide new, innovative technologies for the aluminium market,” Polzot added.