BASF is aiming to tap into Sakai's advanced development in this area in order to market a titanium dioxide under the tradename T-Lite.
The agreement means that Sakai will be producing microfine titanium dioxide for BASF, who will then be marketed the products globally with the exception of the Japanese market.
"Sakai's capabilities in advanced nanotechnology and powder modification enables BASF to offer high performing TiO2 grades to the cosmetics industry," said Dr. Thomas Saupe, director of Cosmetic Solutions at BASF. "This will help our customers to generate sophisticated and elegant cosmetic formulations with high sun protection factors."
Amongst its advantages, BASF says that the T-Lite grades are characterized by high performance and improved transparency as well as ease of use in formulations.
BASF supplies a complete range of organic and inorganic UV-A and UV-B filters that allow the creation of a wide variety of formulation of sunscreen agents for a range of applications. These include sun lotions, moisturizers or highly effective sunblocks, especially for children.
The business for UV filters is handled by BASF's Fine Chemicals Division, which is active in the fields of health, nutrition and body care. This division manufactures and markets a wide product line for the cosmetics industry, especially for hair & skin care, ranging from conditioners, styling polymers, solubilizers and emulsifiers to dyes, UV filters and active ingredients.
At the end of last year, BASF announced another collaboration for UV filters with a Japanese company - Shisiedo. The project is currently looking at refining zinc oxide as a means of filtering out UVB rays, which until now have not been considered as important as UVA rays.
The two companies also announced that they had reached a licensing agreement under BASF's sunscreen patents in the United States, Europe and Australia regarding micronized zinc oxide-based cosmetic formulations in Shiseido sun protection products.
BASF yesterday announced that group earnings had risen 85 per cent to $1.5 billion ($2bn) for its fourth quarter, on the back of sales increasing 16 per cent to €9.88 billion. The company said it was benefiting from a global 'up cycle' for the chemicals industry.