30 April 2001 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Finland's Kemira has announced plans to invest a total of E18.9m ($16.9m) in its formic acid and fine chemicals businesses. The largest slice of E17m will go towards increasing production of formic acid at its Oulu site. Current output of 60 000 tonne/year will rise by 20 000 tonne/year.
The oldest units will be partially replaced and work will be completed within the next two years, when production will then rise gradually to meet market demand, said Ilkka Pollari, manager of Kemira's formic acid business. Kemira said the project will enable more flexible production of formic acid derivatives.
###10043###Demand for formic acid in animal feed applications, where the derivatives replace feed antibiotics, is expected to grow in Europe by 10%/year, noted Pollari. Consumption of formic acid salts (formates) is also forecast to grow significantly.
Kemira is the world's second largest supplier after BASF and holds a 13% share of the 400 000 tonne/year global formic acid market. Annual growth rates are about 3-4% with strong growth prospects in the Baltic states, eastern Europe and Russia and North and South America.
The remaining E1.9m will be spent on revamping the No. 1 fine chemicals plant at Kokkola to produce pharmaceutical intermediates. It currently produces agrochemical fine chemicals. The plant will operate to good manufacturing practice (GMP) principles and will focus on custom-made products and partnership development. It will be dedicated to pharmaceutical intermediates from early 2002, according to Ulf Björkqvist, managing director of Kemira's fine chemicals division.
In addition, the company said it will continue to strengthen its agrochemicals fine chemicals production by continuously expanding its No. 2 and 3 plants at Kokkola. This will enable Kemira to offer a broader range of capabilities, such as cyanation, said Björkqvist.
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