Effective immediately, the company is raising the price of vitamin B3 (niacin) by seven to 13 per cent for non-contract customers, or as existing contracts allow. A spokesperson for the company, which was born last year out of the merger between Reilly Industries and Rutherford Chemicals, told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the price increase was down to a combination of factors, including raw material costs, the balance between supply and demand, and value adding along the supply chain. When Verellus announced a price increase for its feed grade vitamin B3 (8.18 $/kg or 5.98 €/kg for non-contract customers or as existing contracts permit) in August, this move was explained by the need to reinvest in the vitamin B3 business in order to meet global demand. An earlier feed grade increase of five to 10 per cent for niacin and niacinamide came into effect in April. This included 3-cyanopyridine and beta picoline. The Indiana-based specialty chemicals company has recently expanded its production capacity of beta picoline, the key starting material for B3 by 30 per cent, and for 3-cyano pyridine, the middling step, by 15 per cent. The pyride/picolines expansion included the installation of a new reactor system, enabling an integrated site. No figures have been given as to the level of the investment. Expansion of the final step, production of B3 itself, is currently in the process, with 10 to 15 per cent more capacity expected to be available at its plants in both Indianapolis and Antwerp in early 2008. The spokesperson declined to give details about which raw materials involved in B3 production had a part to play in the price increase, but said that the company believes the new price ball-park will be permanent. Vertellus claims to be the world number two vitamin B3 producer, and a global leader in pyridine and picoline chemistry. In July Swiss biotech company Lonza announced a worldwide price hike of up to 12 per cent for vitamin B3 in a bid to pass-on increasing production costs, citing rising costs of raw material, energy and transportation.