Swiss pharmaceuticals group Roche says that scale-up work at its vitamin C plants is proceeding as planned.
The company has completed environmental investments at the plant at Belvidere in New Jersey, US, which is being restarted this month. Commissioning and scale-up work at the production facility at Dalry in Scotland is also proceeding as planned, but short to mid-term supply of vitamin C is expected to remain tight, said Roche.
Reporting its first quarter results last week, Roche revealed that sales at its vitamins and fine chemicals division, the world's leading supplier of vitamins and carotenoids to the feed, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, amounted to SF744 million, down by 3 per cent in local currencies or 14 per cent in Swiss francs.
On a comparable basis local-currency sales remained nearly stable, decreasing slightly by 0.7 per cent. The division posted volume gains for the quarter, despite the continuing impact of a difficult economic climate, according to the company.
The sale of Roche Vitamins to Netherlands-based DSM is still subject to approval by antitrust authorities, which is expected this spring. The division's results will be included in Roche's consolidated accounts until the transaction is closed.
Despite the weaker sales in the vitamins unit, sales growth at the company's core businesses was 15 per cent in local currencies (3 per cent in Swiss francs) leading to combined sales of SF6.7 billion from the core businesses in the first three months of 2003.