BASF announced a $33 million investment to expand its facilities in Research Triangle Park (RTP), N.C. Nearly 80,000 sq. ft. of office, laboratory and greenhouse facilities will support the company's plant biotechnology and insect control research.

This is the first in a series of investments that the Agricultural Solutions segment will make in 2012 to strengthen its global R&D platforms in line with BASF's new "We create chemistry" strategy.

"This expansion demonstrates the company's strategic commitment to agricultural solutions and strengthening R&D in all of our markets," said Nevin McDougall, Senior Vice President, BASF Crop Protection North America. "It also underscores our commitment to the site's employees and the surrounding community."

BASF expects to break ground on the project in March, and construction is expected to be completed by mid-2013. The planned expansion includes a climate-controlled greenhouse and laboratories for plant biotechnology research, a custom environmentally-controlled insect production facility and office space.

A significant share of insecticide research is already conducted in Research Triangle Park. The larger, modernized facilities will ensure comprehensive and faster evaluation of the company's promising insecticide candidates, thus expanding its development capabilities.

"BASF Plant Science has been located in RTP since 1998. With this significant addition to our existing facilities, we are strengthening our research platform at this strategic site," said Juergen Schweden, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, BASF Plant Science. The investment follows the announcement in January to establish BASF Plant Science's global headquarters at RTP which is in line with the division's focus on its main markets in North and South America.

This site currently employs approximately 780 people and occupies 400,000 square feet. RTP is a major BASF location for global insecticide and plant biotechnology research. It serves as headquarters for the North American activities of BASF's Crop Protection division and soon the global headquarters for the Plant Science division. BASF established its RTP site in 1986. The last major investment in the site took place in 2006.