A company called LANXESS, which produces an intermediate for the production of vitamin E, m-cresol, at its site in Leverkusen in Germany, has declared a force majeure for the product, due to what it called “unforeseeable technical problems”.
“We expect to go back to regular production [of m-cresol] in the first half 2020,” said LANXESS in a statement emailed to us.
A spokesperson for BASF told us the company does not use m-cresol in its vitamin E production.
“Our production is thus not impacted by the shortage of this intermediate in the market.
“We are in close contact with our customers to discuss the current supply situation and available capacities,” he added.
Potentially exacerbating the vitamin E supply issue globally is the fact that the Nenter & Co’s vitamin E production facility in Jingzhou, Hubei, China, now run as a joint venture with DSM, is currently not operating as it is undergoing refurbishment.
The closure of the facility will last as long as needed to complete the revamp, said DSM back in August. As soon as there is more clarity on the duration of the shutdown, it will provide an update, it added.
Chinese anti-dumping investigation
Meanwhile in July this year, China said it was starting an anti-dumping probe into imports of m-cresol from the US, the European Union and Japan.
The investigation resulted from a June request by domestic manufacturers of m-cresol and was set to focus on possible dumping and damage to the local industry from 2016 to 2018, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
The probe could last for up to a year and a half, the ministry added.