Lonza boosts capacity in Czech Republic

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Swiss chemicals firm Lonza has opened a new production facility in
the Czech Republic that would allow it to increase output of the
health ingredient L-carnitine, if demand continues to grow.

The substance, which has a key role in energy metabolism, is currently seeing double-digit increases in annual sales, based on a wide range of applications.

It has been particularly boosted by the Japanese market, where recent classification of the ingredient under food law has seen its launch in a number of new products. L-carnitine sales in this new market were worth around $20 million last year, according to Paul Yamaguchi, Japanese nutraceuticals consultant.

A new production facility, which opened last week near Kolin in the Central Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, increases Lonza Biotec's production capacity by around 50 per cent, according to business director Tomasz Cieslewski.

While most of the extra capacity is designed to cater for the firm's custom manufacturing business, the Czech Republic is also the main site for Lonza's L-Carnitine production.

"As we will dispose of greater capacity, it does not exclude an impact on the carnitine business if we had to respond to increased demand,"​ Cieslewski told NutraIngredients.com.

He declined to give current output volume or sales figures for the ingredient.

Lonza​ is one of only a few producers of L-carnitine, having developed a proprietary production process. It now offers L-Carnitine in various forms for both human and animal nourishment around the world and is thought to be the largest supplier.

Lonza has already invested more than €117 million in the production of biotechnology products for the food and pharmaceutical industries in Central Bohemia since first opening a plant there in 1992.

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