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Fine Chemicals On The Upbeat

Informex: Merger, Asia news revealed at trade show in New Orleans

by Rick Mullin
February 20, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 8

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Informex returned to the Crescent City for the first time since 2008.
A Mardi Gras band in front of the New Orleans convention center where the Informex trade show was held in February 2012.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Informex returned to the Crescent City for the first time since 2008.

Attendees at Informex were exuberant last week upon their return to New Orleans, buoyed by solid sales growth in 2011. News of consolidation in the sector and plans for China could be heard amid the buzz at the trade show for fine and pharmaceutical chemicals.

Fabbrica Italiana Sintetici (FIS), an Italian fine chemicals firm, announced it is engaged in discussions to acquire Delmar Chemicals, a Montreal-based pharmaceutical chemical firm that specializes in process optimization, scale-up, and small-scale synthesis.

FIS and Delmar have partnered for several years, according to Laura Coppi, general manager of sales and marketing at FIS. Delmar will give FIS its first facility in North America, Coppi said, and its pilot-scale manufacturing complements FIS’s kilogram-scale and larger production capability in Vicenza, Italy. Sales at FIS grew 25% in 2011 to reach $290 million, Coppi said, and she is optimistic that it can sustain that level of growth this year.

Equistone Partners Europe, owner of the German pharmaceutical chemical maker Chemie Uetikon, is looking for another fine chemicals company to acquire, according to Uetikon CEO Heinz Sieger. A private equity firm created by former executives of Barclays Private Equity, Equistone acquired Uetikon last fall. The deal capped a year in which Uetikon’s sales grew 30%, Sieger told C&EN. Equistone’s plan is to merge the second fine chemicals firm with Uetikon, Sieger said.

The fine chemicals sector still has its eyes on Asia. U.S.-based ChiralQuest announced plans to acquire a full-scale manufacturing facility in Jiangxi, China. The plant will feature 60 vessels ranging in size from 50 to 3,000 L, with a total volume of 80,000 L, said Ian C. Lennon, senior vice president of business development.

Asymchem Laboratories announced the opening of a large-scale facility in Dunhua, China, to meet demand for pharmaceutical-grade intermediates. The company said it invested $20 million in the project and will spend another $12 million by 2014. This year, it plans to triple capacity and add the capability to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients, said James Gage, Asymchem’s chief scientific officer.



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