Sophim acquires Spain-based plant to further cater to botanically derived squalane demand

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Sophim acquires Spain-based plant to further cater to botanically derived squalane demand
French supplier of natural cosmetics ingredients, Sophim has acquired a new plant in Spain as it rolls out plans to cater to growing market demand, particularly in the area of botanically derived squalene.

The new oleochemicals production site will supply Sophim with an additional source of raw materials and is located in one of Europe’s largest production areas for olive oil.

According to the natural ingredients supplier, the plant will pre-concentrate and extract squalene from olives to supply the group’s historical factory in Southeast France,

This strategy will mean the company can dramatically increase its production capacity of plant-derived squalane.

In the coming years, Sophim will also use this site to implement a new in-house patented technology for extracting squalene, sterols and vitamin E in order to produce squalane from other fats than olive.

Squalene market dominated by a few major players

Research and Markets has forecasted the global squalane market to grow at a CAGR of 10.3% in terms of value over the next five years to be worth €141.45 million by 2019.

The global consumption of squalene / squalane is expected to be 4,028.0 tons by 2019.

The market is expected to witness a lot of developments in the next five years in the form of collaborations and innovations through R&D activities. Amyris Inc. (U.S.) has been the most active company in the market till 2014.

The segment has a few major players and is regionally segregated. Sophim (France), Amyris (U.S.), Kishimoto Special Liver Oil (Japan), SeaDragon Marine Oils (New Zealand) are a few of the leading players in the squalene market.

The difficulties in raw material availability due to regulations and competition from other industries, minimal governmental support, and western cultural impact have restrained the companies from entering the market.

The move away from animal squalane...

The EU took steps to ban targeted deep‐sea shark fisheries back in 2010. However, consumers willing to buy ethical products cannot choose specific plant based squalane ones because differentiation between the substance of origin is not required in labeling requirements.  

The main on-going use of animal squalene today is said to be down to financial reasons in that plant squalane like olive oil for example, is 30% more expensive than that of the moisturizing, non‐greasy substance of the deep sea shark liver (8 to 12 euros per kilo), some of which are now in danger of extinction.

"Although Western cosmetic corporations have taken a sharp turn in favour of plant-based squalane, the industry is still largely supplied by animal squalene,​” says founder of Bloom Association, Claire Nouvian. 

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