By Liz White, UT contributing editorBillingham, UK-Johnson Matthey Catalysts has carried out a £2.5-million ($5-million) expansion, to cope with "spiralling demand" for its Vertec range of titanium-based catalysts, the firm said. The company, which describes itself as "the world's leading manufacturer of organic titanates," said it has "significantly increased" capacity at its Polymer Business Unit at Billingham in the north-east of England. The expansion is part of what the firm calls "ambitious plans" to expand its product portfolio through new product development. Johnson Matthey's Polymer Business provides a range of speciality organic titanates to the polymer industry, for uses including polyester, inks and coatings applications. The Vertec range includes catalysts for polyurethanes. The plant expansion has allowed the business to enlarge its portfolio and enabled production of next-generation catalysts, according to Johnson Matthey's statement on the new capacity. "Demand for organic titanates has been very strong over the last few years and, with the advent of new applications such as polyester, we need to respond to meet customer needs," said Paul Armitage, business manager for the Polymer Business Unit, in the statement. "The new capacity will … be a great asset as we continue to grow our market leadership position in organic titanates," he added. "