12 November 2001 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Rhodia has bought BASF's paracetamol (acetaminophen or APAP) business for an undisclosed sum. The move is part of an overhaul of its analgesics business that includes strengthening its APAP position and streamlining its aspirin operations.
"These recent strategic actions are aimed at strengthening our competitive positions and our reliability," says Antoine Baule, president, Rhodia Pharmaceutical Ingredients.
Rhodia gains customer contracts and related commitments, intellectual property and some APAP manufacturing equipment from BASF, while BASF maintains ownership of its Bishop, Tex., plant.
BASF says the sale of the APAP business will enable it to focus its product portfolio on other products with growth opportunities, including stepping up activities in contract manufacturing.
Rhodia further reinforced its APAP business with the acquisition of a majority of an existing paracetamol manufacturing operation in Wuxi, China. The joint venture, Rhodia Wuxi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., will give the company an important stronghold in Asia.
"We see the Asian market in particular as being a growth market for APAP. This will enable us to meet growing Asian demand," says a Rhodia official.
A combination of market factors and cost considerations is behind Rhodia's decision to streamline its aspirin operations. Aspirin production at its Saint Fons, France, and Bangpoo, Thailand, sites will be consolidated and the company will cease production at its St. Louis, Mo., plant, the only remaining US aspirin manufacturing site, by the end of next year.
Demand for aspirin has been declining, and Rhodia says the Saint Fons and Bangpoo units offer both improved production costs and an ample supply. The company has yet to decide the fate of the St. Louis plant.
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