Plastic Omnium says it will open a new EUR50m (US$63m) international research and development centre in Compiègne, France, for its Inergy Automotive Systems division, in the summer of 2014.

Building on the existing ∑-Sigmatech R&D centre for exterior automotive components near Lyon that opened in 2002 and currently has more than 500 employees, the new facility is intended to accelerate Plastic Omnium Inergy's innovation in key areas for the future of the automobile - energy and environmental protection, through the reduction of emissions.

The new centre will be built on the existing Inergy Automotive Systems site in Venette near Compiègne, which is close to Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport.

It will bring together 430 employees currently divided between Venette and Laval in central France, as well as teams from the research and development centre in Brussels dedicated to electronics.

"The goal is for the new innovation, research and development centre, which represents an investment of EUR50m, to begin expanding its operations almost immediately and to employ approximately 500 people within two years of its opening," said a company statement.

Plastic Omnium will have two R&D centres in France with a combined total of more than 1,000 employees, or 20% of the company's workforce in France.