Kaneka builds US plant and creates US subsidiary to meet roaring Q10 demand

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Related tags: Tonne, Us

The rapid growth in the use of the natural antioxidant CoQ10 in the
cosmetics and supplement industry has prompted the Japanese
corporation Kaneka to build a new plant in the US and to establish
an American subsidiary to service the production facility.

The $80 million factory - under the name Kaneka Nutrients - will be built in Pasadena, Texas, and will have an initial annual production capacity of 100 metric tons by the time it is completed in the spring of 2006.

Kaneka​ expects to expand the plant in the following years in line with projected increases in CoQ10 consumption in the US.

This decision comes after Kaneka's recent announcement that it was doubling annual production of Q10 at its Takasago, Japan, facility to 150 metric tons as of this month, at a total cost of approximately $33 million, to meet increasing worldwide demand.

The popularity of CoQ10 - a fat-soluble substance - is owed primarily to its reputation as an anti-ageing product, which works as the biosynthesis of the chemical, naturally produced by the body, begins to drop after the age of about 20. It is therefore thought to prevent damage to collagen and elastin production - stopping wrinkles.

The supplement has also been linked to protection against cancer and shown to slow the progressive deterioration associated with Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

Current yearly consumption of CoQ10 worldwide is estimated to be about 150 metric tons, with approximately two-thirds of this demand coming from the US, where sales of the nutrient are thought to exceed $200 million.

Other major world markets like Europe and Japan also show steady demand growth, leading to projections that worldwide demand for CoQ10 may double in the next five years.

This surge in demand and the fact CoQ10 is made through a labor-intensive fermentation process, and until recently only in Japan, has caused a shortfall in supply and soaring prices - they are currently at around $2500-3000 per kg, up from $1400 per kg last year.

Kaneka Corporation supplies between 60-70 percent of the CoQ10 sold in the US.

In addition to its availability as a supplement, the product is also found in toothpaste, skincare products and chewing gum, and Kaneka is currently developing new technologies to add it to energy bars and health beverages.

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