BASF doubles certain alkylethonalamine production
doubling its manufacturing capacity for certain alkylethonalamines
by mid 2009.
BASF manufactures the chemicals, such as ethylethanolamines, propylethanolamines and butylethanolamines, at its plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany and the increase in capacity is being found within the existing facility. The expansion is in part due to an increased demand from the pharmaceutical industry, which uses the molecules as "building blocks" in the manufacturing process. However, BASF was not willing to disclose the exact details of the drivers behind increased demand. Klaus-Peter Rieser, BASF head of global communications, Intermediates Division, told in-PharmaTechnologist.com: "With respect to the projects of our customers we cannot disclose the structures and the final applications of these amines. Some of the tertiary amines can also be used as auxiliary bases, in particular as replacement of trialkylamines." The extra capacity is being found within existing facilities, with no additional floor space being added. BASF describe the Ludwigshafen site as a "flexible, fully backward-integrated multi-product facility" and it is this versatility which has allowed BASF to adapt the existing plant. Rieser declined to reveal the cost to in-PharmaTechnologist.com but did say that no additional jobs will be created by the expansion. This gives the impression that resources are being reallocated to take advantage of a growing sector within chemical production. BASF is viewing the expansion as a vindication of its policy of maintaining close, collaborative relationship with its clients. Dr Stefan Blank, head of the regional Amines business unit within BASF's intermediates division said: "We are pleased to see that this increase in demand is driven mainly by innovations that we have developed in cooperation with our customers." The chemical division at BASF has prospered recently, achieving double-digit growth in a challenging commercial environment. This new expansion shows the company is not resting on its laurels as it attempts to build on its position within the market. A proactive approach may be necessary if BASF is to prosper over the coming months. The challenges were laid out by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) president Ulrich Lehner who said: "The strong euro, record-breaking oil prices and the weak US economy will have a dampening effect over the course of the year."