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ISP buys into UK encapsulation

07-Apr-2004

US hydrocolloid firm International Specialty Products (ISP) continues to consolidate its position in the ingredients sector announcing the acquisition of UK ingredients company Hallcrest. In March this year the ambitious company acquired the business of Biochema Schwaben, a formulator of preservatives and biocides for personal care applications.

"The Hallcrest products complement the ISP product line and enable us to offer more unique and exciting ingredients for our customers' finished product formulations. ISP continues to strengthen its position in the important personal care, oral care, food industries and the acquisition of Hallcrest significantly enhances our range of services and ingredients for these dynamic sectors," said Sunil Kumar, ISP president and CEO.

Poole-based Hallcrest specialises in the making and supplying of microcapsules - small particles which contain an active agent or core material surrounded by a shell or coating, a technique used in the personal care, oral care, home care and food industries.

The sizes of the capsules can range from a few microns to a few millimetres and the microcapsules can be either individually coated lipophilic droplets of a liquid, or semi-solid, or a continuous gel matrix containing a dispersion of core material.

Although there are a number of different microencapsulation techniques, Hallcrest works in two areas of phase separation processes - complex coacervation and ionic gelation. The complex coacervation process - a technique used for essential oils and vitamins - involves the formation of microcapsules by the separation of a water-soluble coating or shell wrapping around individual oil droplets and hardening to form microcapsules.

Founded in 1960, the UK firm has five manufacturing zones split between the US and the UK. Terms of the Hallcrest purchase by ISP were not disclosed.

For the past three years ISP has made no secret of the fact that it is on the acquisition trail but two acquisitions announced within two months of each other shows the firm means business.

ISP is a global supplier of specialty chemicals and performance-enhancing products for a wide variety of personal care, pharmaceutical, food, beverage and industrial applications. ISP produces more than 400 specialty chemicals which it markets and sells worldwide.

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