07 July 1997 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Cerestar Deutschland is partnering Merck and BASF in a planned joint venture for the production of ketogulonic acid, a precursor for ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The three German firms have signed a cooperation agreement to build a new plant on a greenfield site next to Cerestar's existing plant at Krefeld, Germans Capacity details were not disclosed but the plant is scheduled for completion within two years.
Each partner will take a one third share of the DM50m ($29m) investment which requires board approval from all parties, although this is expected within the next few weeks. The proposed venture will also have to be examined by the relevant competition authorities.
Cerestar will supply the raw material, sorbitol, which will then be converted into ketogulonic acid to meet demand from Merck and BASF for ascorbic acid production. The plant will use Cerestar's fermentation process, with Merck and BASF also contributing their own expertise. Declining prices worldwide have created enormous pressure on ascorbic acid manufacturing costs, according to Cerestar, which is hoping to strengthen its position as a leading polyol producer.
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