France's Rhodia is to close a production unit for paracetamol/acetaminophen located within the massive Monsanto manufacturing complex in Luling, Louisiana, US.
However, the company re-affirmed its commitment to the pharmaceuticals sector and said that it would move production to its sites in Rousillon, France and a newly acquired plant in Wuxi, China. Rhodia has indicated they it cease paracetamol production at the Luling site in the first half of 2004.
"We remain strongly committed to our customers worldwide and to the important North American market," said Nick Green, president of Rhodia Pharma Solutions. "The investment in Wuxi and consolidation of our paracetamol operations should improve the long-term health of this business.
The investment in China is primarily earmarked for construction of new units for direct compression paracetamol products and the expansion and improvements of existing units for powder grades. In addition, an action plan involving new laboratory facilities, upgrading of current facilities and quality system improvements is being implemented.
Rhodia began investing in China shortly after acquiring the operation in October 2001. The company already upgraded equipment at the site, including those for purification, packaging, HVAC, steam and electricity. Last month, Rhodia received confirmation that the European Certificate of Suitability was granted to the Wuxi operation, which is also US Pharmacopoeia-compliant.
"By ceasing its Luling operations in 2004 and consolidating paracetamol production in Roussillon and Wuxi, Rhodia will adjust its production capacity to demand levels," said the company.