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Agilent to invest $22M in Newport plant expansion

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Agilent Technologies Little Falls Newport

Agilent Technologies will invest $22 million in an expansion of its Newport production plant to meet growing demand for chromatology column. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

NEWPORT – Agilent Technologies, the global analytical instrumentation developer and manufacturer, will invest $22 million in its Newport production plant to meet growing client demand.

Agilent currently has 950 employees in the state, with a large research and development campus and commercial operations facility in Little Falls, west of Wilmington, along with its Newport facility.

The new investment aims to increase the capacity of its lab-based manufacturing site, leasing 12,000 square feet adjacent to its existing facility and fitting out 9,900 square feet as lab space with new infrastructure, equipment and instrumentation. Over half of the remaining square footage will become a warehouse, storage and shipping/receiving area, with the balance used for offices.

The expansion is slated to add 10 to 25 new jobs over the next decade, according to Graham Margetts, manager of the Newport facility that currently employs about 110 people.

To support the hiring and construction, the state’s job investment board, the Council on Development Finance (CDF), approved on Monday a lab space grant from the taxpayer-backed Strategic Fund worth upward of $693,000.

“Delaware has a strong manufacturing history, and this latest investment by Agilent Technologies confirms the company’s commitment to innovating in the First State,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement touting the investment. “We are pleased Agilent will be expanding and bringing more good-paying jobs to the state’s strong science, technology and biopharmaceutical sectors.”

The Newport facility, one of several Agilent manufacturing sites across the United States, produces liquid chromatography columns used for chemical and biochemical analysis, drug discovery, environmental control and analytical chemistry.

Margetts told the CDF on Monday that the Agilent facility has been increasing its production of the consumables by 8% to 10% annually but is now reaching the point where expansion is necessary to meet demand in the international market. The expansion will involve the addition of new reactors while decommissioning an old one and the addition of new production laboratories. The new jobs, Margetts said, will be for plant operators, technicians and engineers. Average salaries will be about $55,000 with benefits.

“Our people at Newport have great skills,” Margetts said in answering a question about why the company would like to expand the current facility, noting the strong ties the company has with the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College, and a commitment to hiring their graduates.

The Newport expansion comes on the heels of Agilent’s expansion project in Little Falls last year, when the company announced that it would invest $7 million to build new labs to meet growing demand for its services there.

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