Swiss chemicals firm Lonza is strengthening its position in the vitamin B3 market, with construction of a new niacinamide plant at its Guangzhou site in China.
The $30 million (€26.2m) plant comes in response to increasing demand for niacinamide, says Lonza, which already makes the nutrient, used in both animal and human nutrition, at the Guangzhou site.
The L-carnitine specialist recently announced plans to cut around 500 jobs mainly in Europe and the US as part of a restructuring programme to reduce the impact of the current economy. Most of its business lines have been impacted by higher raw material prices and unfavourable exchange rates.
The new plant will have a capacity of 6,000 tons per year with the possibility of expansion up to 9,000 tons. Start-up of production is expected for March 2005.
Niacin and niacinamide, naturally present in various foods, are essential precursors for the synthesis of the coenzymes NAD and NADP, involved in several metabolic processes. They are generally added to foods, especially wheat flour and flour from other grains with poor bioavailability of the nutrient, or taken in supplements to ensure the required daily intake.
Lonza, which had sales of SF2.54 billion in 2002, claims to be market leader in vitamin B3.