Aging population prompts SI Group to again expand ibuprofen production at U.S. plant

The SI Group recently completed a 10% capacity expansion of ibuprofen production at its plant in Orangeburg, South Carolina. But the way the ingredients maker figures it, the added production is not enough to keep up with demand from an aging population and all of its aches and pains, so it will expand production at the plant again.

The company is adding another 25% in production capacity, which it says should be ready for commercialization in 2020. It will have invested about $30 million in the two projects when the latest is complete.

“Ibuprofen demand is growing at a 4% CAGR, largely driven by the growing middle class and aging population demographics,” the company said in a statement. “Only six suppliers represent over 90% of the nameplate industry capacity. … Without additional capacity, it is projected that the industry could go into a deficit as early as 2020. The industry requires new investment immediately.”

SI Group got the Orangeburg plant in 2014 as part of a deal in which it acquired the antioxidants and ibuprofen business of Albemarle, a deal that put it among the top three ibuprofen producers.

Its expansion also comes as one of its competitors had to stop ibuprofen production at a plant in Texas because of manufacturing issues. A spokesman for BASF in an email today confirmed that its plant in Bishop, Texas stopped production June 3. It said a “dedicated project team” is onsite detailing a timeline for the required work.

Last year, BASF announced it would build a “world-scale plant to produce ibuprofen” at its headquarters site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, as well as expand Ibuprofen production at the Texas site. It said it would invest €200 million on both projects. The Texas expansion was slated to be complete this year and the plant in Germany in 2021.