The company is currently conducting a market study in Poland with plans to make contacts with possible distributors and customers. The plans reflect the company's intention to further tackle international markets, having successfully found distributors in many Western European countries, the US and Japan since its inception in 1999. Similarly the Israeli company has announced plans to seek distributors in Austria and Switzerland. Algatechnologies is a leading producer of astaxanthin, a naturally occurring carotenoid found in marine algae, which has important antioxidant properties. The substance is harvested from the micro-algae Haemotococcus pluvialis which Algatechnologies cultivates using a patented system specifically designed to produce higher concentrations of the carotenoid. The system consists of metres of closed tubing to cultivate the algae which the company claims eliminates the significant disadvantages of an open pond technique, for example heavy metal and microbiological contamination. Due to its antioxidant properties astaxanthin is currently a very popular ingredient in cosmetic products such as anti ageing treatments, as well as having multiple nutraceutical, nutritional and healthcare applications. Furthermore, Algatechnologies is likely to be benefiting from the current trend for marine based ingredients; a group of ingredients becoming increasingly popular in cosmetics products as the push for natural products gains momentum. Algatechnologies' targeting of the Polish market follows announcements from several big players concerning the construction of production plants and research bases in the country. Cosmetics giant Proctor & Gamble recently announced plans to construct a €38m plant in Central Poland, and negotiations at Beiersdorf concerning the transfer of production from Italy to Spain, Germany and Poland, have just been finalised. Furthermore, data suggests that Central and Eastern Europe presents a strong emerging market for many cosmetic manufacturers, with Beiersdorf's recently published first quarter sales recording a mammoth increase in sales of consumer products of 36.1 per cent in the area In addition, Beiersdorf recorded double digit growth for most markets in this area including Russia and Poland, stating that the company's NIVEA ranges had contributed significantly to growth.