SI Group increases ibuprofen manufacture by 35% amid global shortage

By Ben Hargreaves contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Scharvik)
(Image: Getty/Scharvik)

Related tags: Ibuprofen, SK Capital Partners, SI Group

SI Group announced that it will be increasing its capacity for ibuprofen manufacture by 25%, to be completed by 2020.

The release builds on its previous expansion of 10% that was completed this year, at the same Orangeburg, South Carolina facility.

SI Group acquired its position in the ibuprofen manufacturing sector after purchasing the unit from Albemarle​, alongside its anaesthetic agent, propofol, which is also produced at the Orangeburg site.

A spokesperson for SI Group told us that part of the reasoning behind expanding production was due to the increased demand for the product, with ageing populations and a growing middle class seeing the sector build at a compound annual growth rate of 4%.

In addition, the spokesperson identified that “Only six suppliers represent over 90% of the ibuprofen industry capacity. Considering these factors and ongoing equipment reliability improvement programs, without additional capacity, it is projected that the industry could go into a deficit as early as 2020.”

The consolidation of the ibuprofen market has meant that supply of the medicine is concentrated in the hands of a few companies.

As a result, when one such company, German chemicals group BASF, is currently resolving issues at one of its larger facilities, in Bishop, Texas, it had an impact across the supply chain. The plant in question is responsible for the supply of approximately a sixth of the world’s ibuprofen supply, as reported by Reuters​, highlighting the importance of increases supply in the industry.

According to SI Group’s spokesperson, the total cost of the expansion will come to $30m (€25.87m) to increase the total capacity by 35%.

Earlier this year, it was announced​ that SI Group would be purchased by SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm. After the completion of the acquisition, which is expected in the second half of 2018, SI Group will be combined with Addivant, another company within SK Capital’s portfolio and a global supplier of additives.

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