The project is an extension of Cabot's long-term partnership with Dow Corning, which projects that the global demand for silicones is to continue to grow at 5 to 10 per cent per year over the coming decade.
According to company officials, Cabot will expand production capacity by 25 per cent at its fumed silica facility in Barry, Wales.
The expansion is expected to be completed in 2012 and is part of a three-year plan to increase Cabot's global fumed metal oxide capacity by 35 to 40 per cent.
Cabot and Dow Corning have worked together in Barry since 1991, when Cabot built its fumed silica facility adjacent to Dow Corning's silicone monomer plant.
As part of the relationship, Dow Corning provides Cabot with silanes, which are converted to fumed silica for Dow Corning's compounded silicones applications. The two companies also have a similar relationship in the US in Midland Michigan.
"For over 30 years, we've built a long-term partnership with Dow Corning and demonstrated that we are committed to helping them grow," said Sean Keohane, Cabot vice president, Performance Segment. "This expansion represents a natural extension of our successful relationship."
James Whitlock, Dow Corning senior vice president and general manager, Core Business added "This expansion is an example of the continued spirit of partnership between the two companies. We look forward to working together with Cabot on future business opportunities."
Fumed silica is an ultra-fine, high-purity particle used as a reinforcing, thickening agent. The material is used in a wide-range of end-market applications, including to help improve the performance of cosmetics.
Cabot currently has six fumed silica manufacturing facilities globally, including two in the US, two in Europe, and two in Asia.